Court overturns cuts in child benefit for non-EU residents

The government’s decision to adapt child benefits for families with children living outside the EU to the standard of living in the countries concerned are unlawful, a court in Amsterdam has ruled.

The changes came into effect last year and led to a 40% cut in benefits for children living in Morocco and Egypt, Nos television said.

The courts earlier ruled that the Netherlands was also acting unlawfully by reducing widow and widower pensions for non-EU residents to payments which reflect the local standard of living.


Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher told the broadcaster he is considering appealing against the decision but has not yet finalised his position.

‘You receive child benefit to support you during an expensive period when you have young children,’ the minister said. ‘But the cost of living is much cheaper in some countries than in the Netherlands. The country principle takes this into account.’

If the Amsterdam court position is upheld it will cost the Netherlands €6m, Asscher said. But the total could be far higher because the Netherlands plans to apply the country principle to health insurance and other benefits, he pointed out.

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