Edition 154 - February 2014

Denmark: Grants and loans for more EU citizens

The number of EU citizens with an employee status receiving student support from Denmark’s state educational grant and loan scheme (Statens Uddannelsesstøtte) saw a significant rise of 935 % from 256 grant recipients in 2012 to 2 651 grant recipients in 2013. Following a preliminary ruling by the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union in February 2013, Denmark had to grant student aid to EU citizens with a status as an employee or worker, regardless of the duration of their stay within Denmark.

LN, an EU citizen and the plaintiff within the court case C-46/12, moved to Denmark in June 2009 in order to take up employment in an international wholesale firm. In September 2009 LN resigned from his employment, carried on other part-time employment and began his studies at Copenhagen Business School for which he had already applied before 15 March 2012. As Danish authorities rejected LN’s application for the financial student support, the case was brought to a Danish court and subsequently through preliminary ruling to the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union. By not granting social benefits to an EU citizen who has lived for a period of merely four months in another EU country with the status of an employee, the court saw a breach of the principle of freedom of movement and thus ruled against the Danish authorities’ decision.

The steep rise in EU citizens with an employee status receiving Danish student aid is not due to a massive influx of EU immigrants shortly taking up employment before starting their studies, but mainly to of the reopening of applications prior to the C-46/12 court ruling. Approximately three-quarter among the 2 651 grant recipients had already started their studies in Denmark before 2013, and almost another quarter is assumed to have resided in Denmark before 2013. Grant recipients, however, have to maintain their status as a worker while studying and receiving financial support. The Danish ministry of science, innovation and higher education announced that the grant recipient status of EU citizens with employment status will be automatically scrutinised by means of the national labour market authority and checks on monthly payment instalments. 

Danish Ministry of Education, Innovation and Higher Education - Memo

Court of Justice of the European Union - Case C-46/12

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