EU overrules Austria's migrants benefit cuts due to discrimination
Austrian measures seeking to cut benefits to save as many funds as possible have been overruled by the CJEU on the basis of discrimination.
Austria imposed benefit cuts on migrants whose children reside in their countries of origin, which contradict EU laws, stated the bloc’s top court on Thursday. The previous Austrian government imposed a series of unlawful measures to restrict benefit payments to foreigners which were also overruled by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
According to the CJEU, the cuts to child benefits make for "indirect discrimination on grounds of nationality which, in any event, is not justified." The reforms came into effect in 2019 and resulted in the reduction of tens of thousands of eastern Europeans who work in Austria, particularly in the care sector, but whose children remain in their countries of origin.
Earlier this year, Austria's Family Minister Susanne Raab said that the country had already taken precautions in case the court rejected the measures and ordered the state to return the funds it kept.
The European Commission, with the assistance of six eastern member states, filed a complaint with the CJEU in 2020, alleging that Austria was "failed to fulfill its obligations."
While former Austrian chancellor, Sebastia Kruz, hoped the measures would help Austria save approximately $118 million a year in 2019, they only saved an approximation of around $64 million.
Other measures, which were overruled prior to the disintegration of Kruz’s government as a result of a corruption scandal, also benefit cuts for immigrants who fail to reach a certain level of German.
While the scandal in 2019 not only engulfed Kruz, but all the far-right, Kruz’s center-right People’s Party (OeVP) continue to rule Austria with their coalition partners, the Greens, that have continuously opposed the benefit cuts.