Dutch to tear up Moroccan treaty on child benefits and pensions

The Netherlands is poised to tear up a treaty on social security benefits with Morocco, the Volkskrant reports.

The paper says ministers will discuss the issue at Friday’s cabinet meeting following the failure of social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher to agree new terms with the Moroccan authorities.

The Netherlands wants to reduce the ‘export’ of child benefits and widows’ and orphans’ pensions to levels appropriate to the local standard of living. Current claims would not be affected.

Retaliation

The measure, to be introduced in 2015, will save a few million euros a year. However, there are fears that the Moroccan authorities might retaliate and stop cooperating with joint efforts to stamp out Dutch Moroccan crime, the Volkskrant says.

Morocco also currently cooperates with the Netherlands in verifying benefits claims by looking at local assets, such as property. Of the 71 cases looked at last year, half were found to be fraudulent.

A majority of MPs say benefits should reflect local needs, not Dutch standards. Benefits already reflect local circumstances if they are being paid in non-EU countries, but this could not happen in the case of Morocco because of local treaties, the Dutch courts have ruled.

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