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3rd December, 2018

EU to examine Austrian family subsidies policy

Human Resources Ministry state secretary for family and youth affairs Katalin Novák on Sunday welcomed as a victory for the Visegrád Four a European Commission decision to investigate Austria’s family subsidies policy.

Austria plans to reduce family support paid to EU citizens working in Austria, starting on January 1.

Lithuania, Slovenia and Bulgaria, as well as the Visegrád Four countries, wrote an open letter urging the EC to take action.

Commissioner for employment, social affairs and mobility Marianne Thyssen signalled that the EC would investigate the compatibility of the Austrian decision with EU law.

The Visegrád Four, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovenia maintain that Austria’s decision seriously violates the principles of equal treatment and social security co-ordination and constitutes unjustified discrimination, since foreign workers pay as much in taxes and social insurance contributions as Austrian workers.

Thyssen wrote in an answer to Novák that, based on the principle of free movement, EU citizens are entitled to identical rights and nobody can be discriminated against regarding family subsidies.

Novák stressed that the Austrian decision affects Hungarian families to the greatest extent, as about 40,000 Hungarian children are affected.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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