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Parliamentary questions
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18 October 2010
Question for written answer E-8530/2010
to the Commission
Rule 117
Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE)

 Subject: Abolition of family allowances for frontier workers in Luxembourg
 Answer in writing 

The European Union is founded on the principle of the free movement of persons. Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68(1) on freedom of movement for workers within the Community and Directive 2004/38/EC(2) of 29 April 2004 state that ‘citizenship of the Union confers on every citizen of the Union a primary and individual right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States’ and that ‘freedom of movement for workers must be guaranteed’ in the EU and that this goal is to be achieved by banning any discrimination to which workers from Member States might be subject on the grounds of nationality in terms of employment, pay or other working conditions. This includes equal treatment in work-related matters and access to the same tax and social benefits. Furthermore, Regulation (EC) No 883/2004(3) on the coordination of social security systems links the payment of family allowances to the legislation of the country of employment: these benefits are paid by the country in which the person concerned is employed.

The Luxembourg Government recently passed a law (Law of 26 July 2010 on State financial aid for higher education, published on 27 July 2010 in the Government Gazette) which provides for the abolition of family allowances and family bonuses for frontier workers in respect of any children they have over the age of 18. The terms of this law seem clearly to penalise frontier workers, while favouring Luxembourg residents, since in order to be eligible for these benefits workers are required to have lived in Luxembourg for more than five years.

In the light of the above, does the Commission consider that the law of 26 July 2010 is compatible with EC law and with the principle of the free movement of workers? Is that law not at odds with the principles of equal treatment and equal rights for workers and does it not discriminate against frontier workers? Should these benefits not be payable to all employees and their families, irrespective of their place of residence?

(1)OJ L 257, 19.10.1968, p. 2.
(2)OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(3)OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 1.

Original language of question: FROJ C 249 E, 26/08/2011
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