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Martinez Sala v Freistaat Bayern , Case C-85/96, 12 May 1998

Facts: the applicant was a Spanish citizen and was legally resident in Germany. The German authorities allowed her to continue to reside in Germany but refused to issue her a residence permit and to grant her a child-raising allowance because she did not possess a proper residence permit.

Complaint: relying on Article 6 of the EC Treaty, the applicant claimed the refusal by the German authorities to grant her a permit of residence and the child raising allowance was discrimination on grounds of nationality.

Holding: the ECJ ruled in favor of the applicant and found a violation of article 6

Reasoning: justification for equality of treatment between nationals and non-nationals residing in Germany is based on the legal status of Union citizens, which is guaranteed to a national of any Member State living in another Member State. A refusal by the authorities of a Member State to grant to a citizen of the European Union a benefit which was granted to all persons lawfully resident in the territory of that Member State on the grounds that the claimant was not in possession of a document which nationals of that same State were not required to have constituted discrimination directly based on nationality.


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