There will be no cuts in child benefit for parents whose children live in an EU Member State other than that in which the parents work, according to the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committee. Today, on International Children's' Rights Day, a progressive majority of MEPs voted to stick to existing rules around child benefits for those working in a different Member States, namely that workers with children will continue to receive the same child benefits in the country where they work, as opposed to child benefits adjusted to the living costs where their children live.* Conservative and liberal groups wanted to cut child benefit when parents work in an EU country other than their own, which would have dramatically affected the lives of people across the continent.
The committee also voted to make the social security system quicker, safer and less bureaucratic for individuals when they change their country of employment within the EU.
The committee voted, on a separate file, in favour of creating a European Employment Agency, designed to ensure the better implementation of relevant EU legislation, strengthen workers' rights, conduct investigations in all EU Member States into letterbox companies, fraudulent business models and bogus self-employment, and mediate between national authorities in cross-border conflicts over workers' mobility.
Jean Lamberts, Employment and Social Policy spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, comments:
"Progressive MEPs have managed to fend off Conservative and Liberals' attempts to pit unequal living conditions in the European Union against each other. There must be equal pay for equal contributions, not a race to the bottom.
"A European Employment Agency will ensure that workers can fully benefit from their existing rights under EU law, as the agency will help uncover fraud and wrong doing. Stronger workers' rights throughout the European Union helps fulfil the promise of a Europe for citizens".
*Revision of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems.