Dutch reach deal to cut widows’ benefits in Morocco

Flag-Pins-Morocco-NetherlandsSocial affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher has finally reached agreement with the Moroccan government on cutting widows’ and orphans’ benefits paid to relatives living in Morocco.

In addition, Moroccan nationals living in the Netherlands will no longer get child benefits for children living in Morocco from 2021, the two countries have decided.

The current agreements are included in a treaty dating from 1972 which the Netherlands wants to update. Negotiations on reducing benefits to local standards of living have been going on for several years and earlier this month looked in danger of collapse.

Most changes will be implemented in stages next year for new claimants. Current claimants will not be affected, Asscher said in a statement.

The Moroccan ambassador to the Netherlands said last November the ‘legitimate rights’ of Moroccan nationals are being affected by the plans.

‘The benefits to be paid to Moroccans in Morocco will be cut by 40% even though they have paid the same contributions as their Dutch colleagues,’ he pointed out. ‘I do not understand this. Many Moroccans consider it to be discriminatory.’

The measure, which will apply to a few hundred people, is expected to save a few million euros a year

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