The EU (non) co-ordination of minimum subsistence benefits: What went wrong and what ways forward?

Vonk, G., 1-Jun-2020, In : European Journal of Social Security. 22, 2, p. 138-147 10 p.

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This contribution deals with the co-ordination of minimum subsistence benefits in EU law. It is argued that the distinction between social assistance schemes and non-contributory benefits in EU social security law is becoming increasingly redundant. This is recognised in the case law of the CJEU, although paradoxically not in a way that strengthens the rights of mobile citizens, but in an adverse manner that undermines the co-ordination efforts of non-contributory benefits under Regulation 883/2004. In order to overcome this problem, it is argued that social assistance should be included in the material scope of application of Regulation 883/2004. This regulation should abandon the concept of special non-contributory benefits and introduce a new category of minimum subsistence benefits, which would also include social assistance schemes. Such a change could be accompanied by a single, coherent principle to govern the relationship between the right to benefits (Regulation 883/2004) and residence rights (Directive 2004/38), if necessary supported by a cost sharing mechanism for minimum substance benefits under Regulation 883/2004 and, preferably, by a recognition of minimum protection standards for economically non-active EU citizens without a legal right of residence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-147
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Security
Issue number2
Early online date29-May-2020
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jun-2020


  • Co-ordination of social security, minimum subsistence benefits, social assistance, non-contributory benefits, economically non-active citizens

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