5.3 Quota and Access to Higher Education Institutions in Europe


Hi, welcome to the Education Law Virtual Classroom. In this lecture, we will talk about the claim for access by a
EU citizen student to a university in a host member state. In 2008, the Constitutional Court of Belgium
made a reference for a preliminary ruling dealing with access to university studies in the case Bressol
and others against the French Community of Belgium. It was a Grand Chamber decision of 2010. Some French students who wanted to
study medicine or a related discipline had difficulty in gaining a place
at an institution in France. Because these places were restricted,
they migrated to Belgium to take up courses in medicine and related disciplines in
the French Community of Belgium. However, the French Community of Belgium restricted access
for non-resident students at the time of registration and introduced a quota and a
lottery system for non-resident students. This constituted a clear indirect discrimination. Belgium claimed that the quota
could be objectively justified. The European Court of Justice held that it was up to the Belgian authorities
to see if the rule could objectively be justified. Belgium however failed to offer evidence for this. To summarize: Under the citizenship provisions, the rights of students
to education in host member states is assumed. However member states are entitled to reserve a certain
minimum of finite places for their own nationals provided this is well founded and proportionate
and provided they offer evidence for this.

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