CEDIES study grants: Another victory at the ECJ!

For the third consecutive time on the subject of student grants, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has again compelled the Luxembourg government to review its legislation on state financial support for higher education.

The amended act of 24 July 2014, which continues to apply, makes a distinction in the treatment of applicant students depending on whether or not they live in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The act requires non-resident students to either be the child of a worker who has been employed or has practised a profession in Luxembourg for at least five years in the seven years preceding the application.

Such a condition does not apply to students who live in Luxembourg – but this distinction is no more!

This condition on the length of service must now be repealed as the first chamber of the European Court of Justice ruled in students’ favour in its verdict of 10 July 2019 on case C-410/18 – Nicolas Aubriet vs. Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

In 2014, when Mr Aubriet’s request for financial aid was rejected on the grounds that he did not meet the length of work condition and did not have sufficiently close ties with Luxembourg, ALEBA’s lawyer, Stéphanie Jacquet, immediately applied for a judicial review to request clemency from the ministry given the number of years worked by the father, Bruno Aubriet, who had been registered with the Luxembourg social security system since 1991.

However, the ministry did not accept this, basing its opinion on the law as it stood. According to Ms Jacquet, the rejection was based on an overly restrictive condition on the length of work, and did not take into account other factors in Mr Aubriet’s association with Luxembourg. This infringed workers’ freedom of movement within the European Union. The case had to be referred to the ECJ.

ALEBA decided to instigate proceedings before the Administrative Court and secured an ECJ referral in a judgment of 20 June 2018, which ultimately led to this favourable verdict on 10 July 2019, not just for Mr Aubriet, but also for all students who are children of workers not residing in Luxembourg.

It took four long years of proceedings to finally put an end to this discriminatory practice.

ALEBA is now awaiting the new bill announced by the government and, if a new condition is attached, will consult its lawyer to ensure that it complies with European law and does not affect its members’ rights.

The Nicolas Aubriet C-410/18 ruling can be viewed in full on the European Court of Justice website:

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2019-07/cp190090en.pdf)

 

Press contacts:

Sandra Carvalho, Head of Communications & Strategy (sandra.carvalho@aleba.lu / +352 671 223 228)