MEP Mar­lene Mizzi: Anom­alies with so­cial se­cu­rity ben­e­fits must be ad­dressed

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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