MEP Marlene Mizzi: Anomalies with social security benefits must be addressed
In her capacity as Vice President of the Petitions committee, MEP Marlene Mizzi chaired a public hearing in the European Parliament on the obstacles to EU citizen’s freedom to move and work in the Internal Market - a subject of direct interest to a large number of citizens who are working or have worked in other EU countries.
The hearing focused mainly on the obstacles and difficulties for current employees and those who are retired, to access social welfare and benefits, and stressed some of the most pressing problems for people who move to work, study or live in another country.
“During the hearing, experts from all around Europe discussed a very important and close to all EU citizens topic on the free movement of workers, both form an academic as well as practical point of views.
“EU citizens’ right to move freely within the EU is central to the European project. People should be able to move and work in another country of the EU, but they should also be sure that they will get the social benefits they are entitled to,” said MEP Mizzi.
Marlene Mizzi said: “Unfortunately, as we can see from the rising number of petitions submitted to the PETI Committee, the system is not perfect and very often doesn’t work in practice. The problem is that there are a series of obstacles people face while working and living in different countries throughout their career.”
A number of problems have been highlighted during the hearing, including lack of awareness, complexity of rules, bureaucracy, legal loopholes, and lack of enforcement and misinformation.
“Often people are taxed on both sides of the border and have to complete two tax returns, or even worse they can’t access any benefits in any country, because in one they are working and paying taxes, but are not residents and in the country of origin, they are not paying any contributions. Others find problems with their pensions only when the problem arises. Such anomalies must be addressed in the interest of our citizens,” MEP Mizzi said.
“People are often dancing in the middle between different national systems, not knowing what to do, where to go and whom to ask. There is actually a perception of unfairness for people moving within the EU. We need to s identify the most pressing problems and appropriate solutions. Otherwise it will be impossible to show to the citizens the positive advantages of the free movement, when so many aspects of the social security systems remain so difficult,” MEP Mizzi said.