Slovakian national loses case about her residency

PHILIPSBURG–A Slovakian plaintiff, whose request to be admitted in St. Maarten as a citizen of the European Union (EU) was rejected by the Minister of Justice on September 24, 2014, has lost her appeal against the Minister’s decision, the Court of First Instance announced on Friday.

Svetlana Kostelnikova had filed a request to be admitted to St. Maarten and receive a statement to be admitted by right (Verklaring in verband met Toelating van Rechtswege).

She had argued that all EU citizens have to be treated no differently than Dutch citizens when applying for residency in St. Maarten. She claimed that based on European legislation, all European citizens should be admitted by law to reside in St. Maarten, in the exact same way as European Dutch citizens are.

The principle of non-discrimination had been laid down in a decision of the European Commission in 2001 and expanded on in a later decision that became effective as of January 2014. These decisions became applicable to St. Maarten as well due to its Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) status with the EU.

The woman had filed a request to be admitted to St. Maarten as an employee in the local marine industry. The Minister of Justice had rejected the request because she was not entitled to stay in St. Maarten, based on the National Ordinance Admission and Expulsion LTU, and EU legislation.

The Court of First Instance in this administrative LAR-case dismissed the non-discrimination pleadings, which were filed by attorney-at-law Willem Nelissen.

The Court established that the OCT decision does not give employees the right to establish themselves in another country, but only self-employed nationals of EU-member states. The ban on discrimination does not apply to individual residents of EU-member states, but only to independent entrepreneurs, it was stated.

The Court said that there may be free movement of employees in the European Union, but no arrangements have ever been made to extend this right to OCT St. Maarten.

The judge added that this case was no matter of reciprocity, in the sense that where a person with Dutch nationality as a EU resident can work in the EU, it should also be possible for an EU resident to work in St. Maarten, or any other OCT.

Taking all this in consideration, the Court’s decision went in favour of the Minister of Justice, who was represented in this case by attorney Aernout Kraaijeveld.

Source: The Daily Herald