/Fact-check: European Parliament wants unemployment benefits from day one

Fact-check: European Parliament wants unemployment benefits from day one

The European Parliament wants to make unemployment benefits accessible from the first day living in a new EU country. This is what the Danish Member of the European Parliament Morten Helveg Petersen tweeted on the 11th of December 2018. The national legislations might be abolished, if the changes from the Parliament is approved by the European Council, making Danish politicians nervous. This statement has been fact-checked and has been proven true.

Three months after an EU citizen has moved to another EU country, they would be entitled to receive unemployment benefits from the new state, if the citizen had accrued the right to the benefits in their home country beforehand.

That was how the legislative proposal from the European Commission sounded in 2016 in an effort to coordinate the social security systems across the EU.

However, the European Parliament wants to take it a step further. Making unemployment benefits available from day one.

In December last year, the members of parliament passed changes in the legislative proposal from the Commission. In amendment 93 of the report the Parliament states, that if a person has met the criteria for being deemed eligible for unemployment benefits in the home country, these criteria should be transferred to the new country. And as important, should have the same bearing as had the citizen lived in the country when fulfilling the criteria. These requirements could be the following:

  • fulfilling the periods of insurance
  • employment
  • and self-employment

At the same time the paragraph states, that if the national legislation requires some of the three above mentioned conditions, then one day of insurance, employment or self-employment should make the citizen eligible for unemployment benefits in the country where they are applying.

Nervous Danes

In Denmark the vast majority of the unemployment benefits are paid by the state, which is different from for example the neighbouring country Germany where the system is mostly self-financed through contributions from employees and employers. The state only subsidises to run the job centres. And that’s exactly why this amendment is making Danish MEPs across the political spectrum jittery calling it a ‘catastrophe for the Danish unemployment system’. Fearing that the proposed legislation will cause a rise of people applying for unemployment benefits and thus create a serious lack of money in the budget.

The current EU legislation states, that all EU citizens moving to another country are covered with the same rights as the national citizens.

To be assigned the right today for the unemployment benefits in Denmark, any EU citizen has to be in an unemployment insurance fund for at least one year. Afterwards, depending on it being the first time in the Danish unemployment system, the eligibility will be based on the persons income.
To be able to receive the benefits the citizen will have to have earned 233.376 DKK, equivalent to 31.258 euro, within three years. It’s only the income obtained while having a membership in an unemployment insurance fund that can be included in the calculation. At the same time, it’s only possible to count a maximum of 19.448 DKK pr. month, meaning a person will have to work for at least one year before being entitled to the benefits.

If it’s not the first time in the unemployment system, a person needs to work at least 1.924 hours since the last time they were unemployed, to have the right to receive unemployment benefits again.

These national legislations are in conflict with the proposal from the Parliament, and they will be abolished, if the changes are approved by the European Council.

Member of the European Parliament, Morten Helveg Petersen claimed in December 2018 that the parliament wants to make unemployment benefits available for EU citizens moving to another EU country from day one. This statement has been fact checked and found to be true.

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