Metock: free movement and “normal family life” in the Union
This article examines the ECJ’s ruling, following an exceptional accelerated procedure, in Case C–127/08 Metock, of 25 July 2008. The article praises the Court’s boldness in abandoning the “prior lawful residence” requirement for residence rights of third–country national (TCN) family members of migrant EU Citizens, explicitly overruling Akrich on this issue. Its reasoning is bold, yet economical, grounded in the 2004 Citizenship Directive and right to free movement of EU citizens. However, the article is critical of the failure to publish the Opinion of AG Maduro and the sparse reasoning in the case. The ECJ’s fundamental rights reticence is particularly striking, in particular as its conception of the residence rights inherent in “normal family life” diverges from the analogous protections under Article 8 ECHR. Although Metock was an easy transborder case concerning migrant EU citizens resident in another EU Member State, the article also argues that the denial of the EC dimension to the family reunification claims of static EU citizens against their home Member States is increasingly untenable.