EU court rules in favour of UK Government’s right to restrict migrant benefits

, 6:21 PM IST

London : The European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of the British Government stating it is within its rights to restrict benefits to some EU migrants on the basis that they did not have the right to reside in the UK.

The European Commission had argued that the UK’s decision to deny some welfare schemes like child benefits and tax credits to the migrants, who were economically inactive, on the grounds that they did not have the right to live in the UK was discriminatory, reports the Independent.

The judgment comes as a great relief to British Prime Minister David Cameron as the court nullifies the European Commission’s challenge to the government’s benefits crackdown.

The court agreed with the British Government’s stand that it was lawful for the UK to withhold benefits on the basis of right to reside.

Such “unequal treatment” was justified on the basis of “protecting a member state’s finances”, the court ruled.

“There is nothing to prevent the grant of social benefits to EU citizens who are not economically active being made subject to the requirement that those citizens fulfil the conditions for possessing a right to reside lawfully in the host member state,” the ruling added.

After this ruling, the EU citizens, who have been in the UK for less than five years, will not be entitled to welfare benefits if they are unable to economically support themselves.

The ruling was a sign that the court was more prepared to give national government freedom to interpret European treaties, said Marley Morris, Research Fellow at the IPPR think tank.(ANI)