Austrian FM Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) asked for the welfare state’s reforming inside the European Union,while voicing anger at Austria’s paying an EUR 160 allowance for the child of a Romanian working in Austria, although the child benefit is much lower in Romania.
Kurz told ORF TV station that two Romanian children, whose parents are working in Austria are given EUR 300 by the Austrian state on a monthly basis. ‘The sum is almost corresponding to an average salary in Romania,” Austrian FM argued.
More precisely, Sebastian Kurz wants the value of child benefits granted by Austria to correspond the one from the state where the parents are coming from. For instance, Austria considers paying only EUR 30 for two allowances instead of EUR 300 as at present.
Yet, the Austrian Labour Minister, Rudolf Hundstorfer (SPÖ) slammed Kurz’ position. The ruling coalition is to debate on the topic during this summer to reach a compromise in the matter.
On the other side, Romanian authorities voiced discontent over the Austrian FM statement, saying it’s discriminatory.
Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) argued the free movement also involves non-discriminatory access to social services. MAE also said that Romania’s particular mention related to child benefits is ill founded considering that Romania only ranks fifth among EU countries whose citizens receive these allowances (after Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Slovenia). So, according to statistics provided by the Austrian side, Romania citizens are not ranking among first countries that benefit of social assistance or child allowances.
In her turn, Romanian Labour minister Rovana Plumb criticized the Austrian minister’s statement, considering it judicially incorrect and politically unacceptable. “I am assuring with all responsibility that Romania’s Government is keeping a close watch at the observance of the Romanian citizens’ rights as European citizens and won’t accept any kind of discrimination against them,” Plumb stated.