Chavez-Vilchez decision and non-EEA parents of EU citizen children

The European Court of Justice handed down a decision which develops the jurisprudence of the court in defining European citizenship. In this case, a Venezuelan mother with a Dutch child, was denied social welfare in Holland because she did not have a right of residence there. This led to an examination as to whether the mother should have Dutch residency.

The Court said that consideration had to be given as to whether depriving the child of the company of its mother could deprive the child of the “genuine enjoyment of the substance of those (EU) rights by com-pelling those children to leave the territory of the EU”. In other words, if denying the mother residency would effectively force the child to leave the Union, this was not acceptable. This decision echoes the Zambrano case in that it doesn’t rely on movement to establish EU rights. In Ireland, non EEA parents of Irish children already have an opportunity to get residency pursuant to the Zambrano decision. But in practise this decision will ex-tend that opportunity to the parents of all EEA children in the State.

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