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LW v Bundesrepublik Deutschland, C-91, CGUE (Grand Chamber), 9 November 2021

LW v Bundesrepublik Deutschland, C-91, CGUE (Grand Chamber), 9 November 2021

In a case referred for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled on the interpretation of Articles 3 and 23(2) of Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on minimum standards for the qualification as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and on the content of the protection granted.


The applicant, who was born in Germany from a Tunisian mother and a Syrian father with refugee status granted by Germany, had her application for asylum refused, by a decision confirmed by the national court, on the ground that, as a Tunisian national, she could have benefited from effective protection in Tunisia.

However, the applicant fulfilled the conditions for obtaining refugee status under national law, which, by way of secondary legislation and for the purposes of the protection of members of the refugee's family, allows the protection granted to refugees to be extended to minor children even if the applicant does not himself satisfy the conditions for such protection.


Having appealed against the refugee status' denial, the referring German judges asked the Court of Justice whether the national legislation might be regarded as complying with Directive 2011/95. That directive does not provide for the extension, on a secondary basis, of refugee status to family members of a refugee, who are not individually entitled to such status. Article 23 of the directive merely requires the Member States to adapt their national law in such a way that family members - according to their personal legal status - may be entitled to certain benefits, which include the issue of a residence permit or access to employment, and which have as their object the preservation of family unity.


The Court, sitting in Grand Chamber, replied that the provisions of the directive do not preclude a Member State, on the basis of more advantageous national provisions, from granting refugee status on a secondary basis and for the purposes of maintaining family unity, to the minor unmarried child of a third-country citizen to whom that status has been granted.


(Comment by Nadia Spadaro)