EU Moves Against Austria for Changing Benefit Payments for Children Living Abroad

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The European Union (EU) has launched infringement proceedings that could lead to sanctions against Austria over a controversial new reform to benefit payments for children living abroad.

The European Commission began infringement procedures this week following Austria’s new policy, which will see benefits for children abroad adjusted to the cost of living in the country they reside in, Le Figaro reports.

EU Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen announced the infringement procedure at a press conference slamming Austria’s conservative-populist government, saying there were no “second-class children” in the European Union.

“When mobile workers contribute to a social security system in the same way as local workers, they must receive identical benefits, even when their children live abroad,” she insisted.

The new law, which came into effect this year, will affect around 150,000 children of foreign EU workers, with the largest number coming from Romania, and would likely save Austrian taxpayers more than 100 million euros per year.