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‘The spectre of the ‘welfare tourist’ within the judgments of the CJEU’

Charles O’Sullivan

In recent years, since the onset of the Financial Crisis, the Court of Justice has shifted towards a far more re-strictive view of what categories of citizens may be entitled to social benefits in a host Member State. Alt-hough EU welfare law has always emphasised that economic activity is a primary precondition for accessing welfare payments and other social benefits, it has now actively began to demonstrate how severe the limits of this approach can be, particularly with regard to the economically-inactive citizen, who have increasingly been viewed by the CJEU as ‘welfare tourists’, i.e. individuals who travel from one Member State to another to take advantage of their more generous welfare provision. This paper will explore where this language has been most prevalent in the Court’s jurisprudence, as well as the inherent issues and implications of this approach.

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