European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance

European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance, (ETS No. 14), entered into force July 1, 1954.
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Year of adoption: 1953
Year of entry into force: 1954
Legal Status:


Section I – General provisions

Article 1

Each of the Contracting Parties undertakes to ensure that nationals of the other Contracting Parties who are lawfully present in any part of its territory to which this Convention applies, and who are without sufficient resources, shall be entitled equally with its own nationals and on the same conditions to social and medical assistance (hereinafter referred to as “assistance”) provided by the legislation in force from time to time in that part of its territory.

Article 2

a. For the purposes of this Convention the terms “assistance”, “nationals”, “territory” and “country of origin” shall have the following meanings, that is to say:

i. “Assistance” means in relation to each Contracting Party all assistance granted under the laws and regulations in force in any part of its territory under which persons without sufficient resources are granted means of subsistence and the care necessitated by their condition, other than non-contributory pensions and benefits paid in respect of war injuries due to foreign occupation.

Article 4

The cost of assistance to a national of any of the Contracting Parties shall be borne by the Contracting Party which has granted the assistance.

Article 5

The Contracting Parties undertake, so far as their laws and regulations permit, to help each other to recover the full cost of assistance as far as possible either from third parties under financial obligation to the assisted person or from persons who are liable to contribute to the cost of maintenance of the person concerned.

Section II – Repatriation

Article 6

a. A Contracting Party in whose territory a national of another Contracting Party is lawfully resident shall not repatriate that national on the sole ground that he is in need of assistance.

b. Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice the right to deport on any ground other than the sole ground mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Article 7

a. The provisions of Article 6.a notwithstanding, a Contracting Party may repatriate a national of another Contracting Party resident in its territory on the sole ground mentioned in Article 6.a if the following conditions are fulfilled:

i. the person concerned has not been continuously resident in the territory of that Contracting Party for at least five years if he entered it before attaining the age of 55 years, or for at least ten years if he entered it after attaining that age;

ii. he is in a fit state of health to be transported; and

iii. has no close ties in the territory in which he is resident.

b. The Contracting Parties agree not to have recourse to repatriation except in the greatest moderation and then only where there is no objection on humanitarian grounds.

c. In the same spirit, the Contracting Parties agree that, if they repatriate an assisted person, facilities should be offered to the spouse and children, if any, to accompany the person concerned.

Article 8

a. The Contracting Party repatriating any national in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 shall bear the cost of repatriation as far as the frontier of the territory to which the national is being repatriated.

b. Each Contracting Party undertakes to receive any of its nationals repatriated in accordance with the provisions of Article 7.

c. Each Contracting Party undertakes to facilitate the transit across its territory of any persons repatriated in accordance with Article 7.

Article 10

a. When repatriation is decided upon, the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of origin shall be advised (if possible, three weeks in advance) of the repatriation of their national.

b. The authorities of the country of origin shall duly inform the authorities of any country or countries of transit.

c. The places for handing over such persons shall be decided by arrangement between the competent authorities of the country of residence and the country of origin.

Section III – Residence

Article 14

There shall be excluded in the calculation of length of residence those periods during which the person concerned has been in receipt of assistance from public monies as laid down in the legislative measures mentioned in Annex I, except in the case of medical treatment for acute illness or short-term medical treatment.