Cross-border students as a case study in European law

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

They have given their names to historic judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union sitting in Luxembourg or they have pleaded these extraordinary cases. Meet those whose determination has advanced the law in the EU, like the students and their parents who denounced the Luxembourg reform of scholarships that discriminated against the children of frontier workers.

This is a very special case in the history of the CJEU's jurisprudence: Three times, judges have overturned the same law, which was reworked each time, but was once again turned down. We are not talking about a Polish law that hinders the independence of judges, nor a Romanian law that discriminates against the Roma minority. No: This Luxembourgish law is the one that in 2010 reformed the Luxembourg family allowance system, excluding the children of cross-border workers from the beneficiaries. Family allowances previously paid up to the age of 27 are now only granted to children under 18. Beyond that age, young people over 18 are offered a system of study grants consisting of direct non-repayable aid or a loan depending on their income, provided that they are pursuing higher education and… are living in Luxembourg.

"The government put forward very questionable criteria at the time", recalls Coï, a lawyer at the court. "It justified the measure by arguing that fewer resident students had access to higher education compared to other EU countries. But it could not explain how denying the children of cross-border commuters access to scholarships would achieve this objective. It was obvious – and the government made it clear – that there were budgetary reasons behind it."

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Cross-border students as a case study in European law


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