Denmark’s employment minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen, said he was happy to see the European Court of Justice rule on Tuesday that EU member states have the right to refuse social benefits to unemployed migrants.
The ruling was prompted after a Romanian woman living in Germany was denied unemployment benefits when she didn't take up jobs suggested by her local job centre. The woman, 25-year-old Elisabeta Dano, appealed her case all the way to the European Court.
The court ruled on Tuesday that states must have the right to refuse social benefits to unemployed migrants, a position that has been held by Denmark.
Kristensen said that the ruling supports what Denmark has said all along: that EU residents should not be allowed to travel from country to country looking for social benefits.
“Denmark supported Germany in the case because we don’t believe that one should have the right to move from one EU country to the other with the sole intention of being taken care of. Therefore we weren’t surprised by the outcome,” Kristensen said in a statement.
“Even though experts will now closely inspect and asses the scope of the EU ruling, I am basically very satisfied with it,” he added.
Danish MEPs also praised the court’s decision.
“I think this is an expression of a new understanding within the EU system that a country’s concerns need to be met and that we must clearly say no to welfare tourism,” the Social Democrats’ Jeppe Kofod said in a statement.
Morten Messerschmidt, who represents the EU-sceptic Danish People's Party in Brussels, prodded the Danish government to act domestically.
“I’m happy to see that the EU court has set a limit for which social benefits can be covered by EU law. It is therefore essential that the government do everything it can to ensure that all Danish benefits are also defended - just like the German ones,” Messerschmidt said in a statement.
Denmark provided a submission to the European Court of Justice in support of the German authorities in the Dano case.