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Parliamentary questions
3 March 2014
Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware of allegations of ‘benefit tourism’ in some Member States but not of any evidence that would show that it is systematic and widespread. Rather, a recent Commission communication(1) on free movement of EU citizens finds that most EU citizens moving to another Member State do so to work, and that figures provided by Member States as well as recent studies show that mobile EU citizens use welfare benefits no more intensively than the host countries’ nationals. Moreover, the Commission considers that EC law contains sufficient safeguards to protect Member States from unreasonable financial burdens while ensuring that EU citizens can effectively exercise their right to free movement. It also contains a range of robust safeguards to help Member States fight abuse and fraud. Further details are set out in the above communication.

As regards the lack of personal documentation to which the Honourable Member refers, the Commission would like to recall that Member States are only obliged to grant EU citizens leave to enter their territory with a valid ID card or passport, and EU citizens have a right of residence in another EU Member State for a period of up to three months without any conditions or formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid ID card or passport.

(1)COM(2013) 837 final of 25 November 2013 — Free movement of EU citizens and their families: Five actions to make a difference.

OJ C 273, 20/08/2014
Last updated: 5 March 2014Legal notice