German court confirms social rights (health care) for Bulgarians and Romanians, even
those who do not have work permits.
EU citizens from Bulgaria and Romania are entitled to healthcare and social benefits in Germany even without a valid working permit, a German court has said in a ruling that may overturn welfare restrictions sought by the German government.
Bulgarians and Romanians, as citizens from the EU's newest member states, are still subject to labour market restrictions in Germany and a number of other EU states, including the UK where the government is also considering restricting access to the national health system.
According to fresh migration data, almost a million people came to Germany in 2011, 43 percent of whom were from new member states - Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.
Lazarinka R.'s case sets a precedent for similar cases where EU citizens were refused or advised not to seek welfare benefits in the absence of a legal status.
Some courts in Europe are not satisfied with the already quite progressive level of health care and social benefits and demand that they be expanded even further. The good news is that the controversy in Germany concerns whether or how much to expand the safety net rather than how to restrict it.
We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. ... We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community. ... We shall strive for perfection. ... We may make mistakes, but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.