Luxembourg – Schoolchildren from neighboring countries must also be reimbursed for travel expenses if they attend a German school. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has decided this in the case of a German junior high school student who lives in France with his parents and goes to a school in Rhineland-Palatinate.
The student’s parents are also German, the mother works in Germany. From the school year 2015-2016, however, the district of Sudliche Weinstrasse refused to pay the boy’s school transport costs. Reason: According to Rhineland-Palatinate law, the district only has to take over the transport for students who live in this federal state. The parents complained, and now the Rhineland-Palatinate Higher Administrative Court wanted to know from the ECJ whether this regulation discriminated against migrant workers.
The judges in Luxembourg confirmed this. The scheme constituted indirect discrimination, which is fundamentally prohibited by EU law. The fact that this also applies to domestic workers residing in other federal states is irrelevant in this regard. The CJEU also considers the Rhineland-Palatinate requirement to impair freedom of movement for workers.
The Court considers that practical difficulties in the efficient organization of school transport at the regional level cannot be an overriding reason in the general interest which could justify such discrimination. In order to calculate the reimbursement of costs, the student’s place of residence could be “fictitiously relocated to where the airline between the actual place of residence and the nearest school crosses the national border”, the ECJ explained to the higher administrative court.