CYIL Vol. 7, 2016
VÁCLAV ŠMEJKAL CYIL 7 ȍ2016Ȏ migrants or in a situation of a long-term unemployment after just a short working activity in another Member State. Though it may sound socially insensitive, these are not situations which would be decisive for the functioning of the EU internal market as the material basis of integration, or which may or should help to save the vanishing solidarity between the nationals of different EU Member States. Attention should rather be directed to the question of whether the CJEU is somehow narrowing its definition of an EU-worker or whether it considers any restriction on the claims that EU citizens with worker status may have on the social system of the host Member State. Here, it seems that nothing of the sort is occurring. 62 In its decision Saint-Prix from June 2014 63 the CJEU did not hesitate to protect – by granting the status of EU worker – the demand for income support to a woman who gave up work because of the physical constraints of the late stages of pregnancy and the aftermath of childbirth – provided she returns to work or finds another job within a reasonable period after the birth of her child (para 47). The important thing was that the CJEU did not fail to emphasize that the concept of “worker” within the meaning of Article 45 TFEU, in so far as it defines the scope of a fundamental freedom provided for by the FEU Treaty, must be interpreted broadly (para 33 ). What is equally important seems to be the CJEU’s finding that Directive 2004/38 (which in Art. 7 (3) requires the preservation of the status of worker for those who are temporarily unable to work as the result of an illness or accident) cannot by itself limit the scope of the concept of worker within the meaning of the TFEU (para 32). In the case of economically active EU-migrants, the CJEU therefore continues to apply an extensive approach to their rights in the host Member State. Directive 2004/38, which was in the case of economically inactive applicants – Alimanovic – considered by the CJEU to be exhaustive guidance on the questions of preservation or loss of the status of worker of those who worked less than a year, was here interpreted as open to necessary extensions when dealing with the consequences of a job interruption due to physical ailments (paras 40, 44, 46). Even the CJEU’s postscript: provided she returns to work or finds another job within a reasonable period after the birth of her child, can be understood as an attempt to emphasize that all EU citizens who want to work effectively in another Member State must continue to enjoy the widest protection by EU law. 64 62 European Commission still presents on the official website of DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion as the valid case law for the definition of EU-worker the “classic” judgments ranging from C-53/81 Levin from 1982 till the already quoted C-46/12 L.N. from 2013, where the CJEU broadly interpreted this term.
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