Wednesday

21st Feb 2018

Germany to ban EU citizens who abuse welfare system

  • EU citizens will have up to six months to find a job in Germany or return home. (Photo: Stephan Mosel)

The German government on Wednesday (27 August) approved draft legislation aimed at curbing 'welfare abuse' by other EU citizens coming to the country.

"Freedom of movement is an indispensable element of European integration, which we fully support. But we must not close our eyes to the problems linked to it," German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a press conference when presenting the bill and a 140-page report on the problems relating to freedom of movement and access to welfare for EU citizens.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

One of the new provisions envisaged by the German government is a controversial re-entry ban of up to five years for EU citizens who tricked the system or lied in their applications for welfare benefits.

So far, such bans could only be demanded by German authorities for individuals who were a threat to national security or public safety.

A spokesman for the EU commission told this website the EU executive will "have to look very closely at this re-entry ban to verify its compliance with the Freedom of Movement Directive of 2004."

"But we are reassured by indications that the German ministers have given, regarding their intention to remain compliant with EU legislation," EU commission spokesman Jonathan Todd added.

The draft bill also limits to six months the period in which an EU citizen can stay in Germany and look for a job, a measure which is in line with the EU rules on freedom of movement.

But another controversial measure, demanded by Bavarian Conservatives, is to restrict child allowances for people whose kids stay in the home country.

The language of the draft bill is vague, however, only promising to "verify" if the child allowance could be cut back to the living standards of the home country.

If such measures were to be put in place, it would be a breach of EU law, which states that EU workers who pay taxes are entitled to the same child allowances as nationals, irrespective of the country they come from.

In addition, EU citizens who cash in child allowances will have to give a tax registration number and document the existence of the child, so that they are not being paid both at home and in Germany. This measure is in line with EU law.

Several German cities had complained about the arrival of large families of Roma, notably from Romania and Bulgaria, who are entitled to child allowances and social benefits despite not seriously seeking a job in Germany.

The German state has beefed up by another €25 million an existing pot of €200 million that was allocated in March to the municipalities under strain this year.

The German health ministry plans to chip in with €10 million for the vaccination of children and teenagers from EU member states, even if their health insurance status is unclear.

Meanwhile, further €40 million are to be spent on integration courses sponsored by the interior ministry this year, coupled with funds from the European Social Fund for the most disadvantaged persons.

Klaus Zimmermann from the Bonn-based Institute for the Study of Labour told this website that the new measures adopted by the government are aimed at "scaring people off" from applying to social benefits.

"It's supposed to calm people in Germany, but to the outer world it will have the effect of scaring off qualified migrants, who are afraid of the unemployment risk. This is detrimental to labour mobility," Zimmerman said.

EU court fine tunes migrant welfare rights

EU nationals who move to another country to look for a job are not entitled to social benefits, but they cannot automatically be denied them if they've aready worked in the country, an EU court advisor has said.

Focus

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

News in Brief

  1. Tusk: EU budget agreed before 2019 elections 'unrealistic'
  2. Commission fines car cartels €546m
  3. Juncker: 'nothing' wrong in Katainen meeting Barroso
  4. Juncker appoints new head of cabinet
  5. MEPs decide not to veto fossil fuel projects list
  6. Factory relocation risks drawing Vestager into Italian election
  7. Irregular migration into EU drops to four-year low, says Frontex
  8. Macron's new migrant law faces opposition in parliament

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  2. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. 21 February in Brussels
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  4. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  5. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  7. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. MEPs bar WMD and killer robots from new EU arms fund
  2. Canete gets EU parliament pension while still commissioner
  3. Bank of Latvia sends deputy to ECB amid bribery probe
  4. We are not (yet) one people
  5. Intellectual property protection - the cure for Europe's ills
  6. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds
  7. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  8. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  2. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  4. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  5. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  6. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  9. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  11. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  12. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission