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Denmark: Immigration Cases to Be Reopened

(Mar. 18, 2009) Birth Rønn Hornbech, Denmark's immigration minister, has announced that 50 applications for residency that were previously denied will be reconsidered. The cases involve spouses of Danish citizens, and their applications have been rejected since 2002. The change of policy is a result of a 2007 ruling of the European Court of Justice. Until very recently, Hornbech had argued that Denmark's own immigration laws prevailed over the Court ruling. (Immigration Service to Reopen Old Residency Cases, THE COPENHAGEN POST, Mar. 12, 2009, available at

The ruling, in the case of Blaise Baheten Metock and others versus the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Case C-127/08, 2009 O.J. (C 236)4), states, among other things, that family members of European Union citizens need not previously have resided in the Member State to apply for residency. It further states that:

The refusal of the host Member State to grant rights of entry and residence to the family members of a Union citizen is such as to discourage that citizen from moving to or residing in that Member State … Consequently, the interpretation … that the Member States retain exclusive competence … to regulate the first access to Community territory of family members of a Union citizen who are nationals of non-member countries must be rejected.

(Summary of the Judgment, European Court of Justice website, (last visited Mar. 12, 2009) (search using the term “Metock”).)