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Contraction vis-à-vis Extension: Member States' Reactions to Case Law of the European Court of Justice on Student Mobility and Study Grants

Angelika Schenk

Despite welfare policies being foremost a member state competence according to the Treaties and further secondary legislation, case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has significantly contributed to the development of EU competences on social policy. This judicialization of cross-border welfare and citizenship rights has lately been particularly reflected by a broadened eligibility of non-economically active mobile EU citizens to non-contributory welfare services such as university students' access to study grants in other member states. However, while the potential effects of respective CJEU case law on national welfare systems are widely discussed in the academic literature, the actual impact is largely unknown. Therefore, this paper studies how member states react to CJEU case law on cross-border access to study grants in terms of extending or contracting social benefits. Herein, intervening variables such as welfare regime type, judicial review, or administrative structures are expected to affect specific outcomes in member states. The qualitative research design includes in-depth case studies of Germany, France and the UK, using methods of process-tracing through systematic document analysis and semi-structured expert interviews. Altogether, this paper thus aims at enriching political science literature on judicial dimensions of Europeanization.

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