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Netherlands need not give foreign students public transport pass

Netherlands need not give foreign students public transport pass

Photographer:Fotograaf: commons.wikipedia.org

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands is not guilty of unfair treatment. It has the right to only provide its own students with a public transport pass and need not give students from other European member states a similar pass.

The Court of Justice of the European Union today ruled against the European Commission. The latter felt that it was unfair that a British Erasmus student did not get a public transport pass in 2009 and took the Netherlands to court. The costs of a study should be the same for all EU citizens.

The Netherlands disputed this and argued that the public transport pass was part of the performance grant. So it is actually a conditional loan, because students who do not successfully complete their study programme, must reimburse the cost of their public transport pass. As Erasmus students and other foreign students are not eligible for student financing in the Netherlands, they should also not receive a public transport pass.

It already became clear in January that the Netherlands had a strong case. The Solicitor General of the European Court consigned the European Commission’s defence to the wastepaper basket and the Court adopted this recommendation. In its judgment, the court states that the travelling arrangement for Dutch students is provided in the form of a student grant or loan. The Netherlands is therefore not compelled to supply foreign students with a public transport pass as well.

HOP, Hein Cuppen

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