EU will not allow cuts in benefits – Frp threatens with EEA trouble
The EU Council of Ministers will probably not allow cuts in benefits sent out of Norway. The Progress Party (Frp) threatens to renegotiate the EEA.
The Government has been working on this matter since it took over in 2013, but in the EU, resistance is tough from Eastern European member states. According to Aftenposten, everything indicates that the EU Council of Ministers will vote to keep the current rules when they convene next week.
Frp’s spokesperson on social security, Erlend Wiborg, says if that is the conclusion, there will be grounds to review the EEA.
– I will never agree to cuts to welfare benefits in Norway because of this, to provide Norwegians with poorer benefits due to, Wiborg says to the newspaper.
He believes that several countries in northern Europe will react quite strongly to a no from the EU.
It is especially the child benefit and cash support that the Government is concerned about. If the Government get it as they want, such a move would mean a huge cut in the benefits to labour immigrants from EEA countries who work in Norway, but have children left behind in their home country.
– It seems unreasonable that exported family benefits should give the foreign resident families significantly larger purchasing power than they provide when paid to families living in Norway. Purchasing power adjustment is therefore important in order to maintain the legitimacy of these welfare benefits, the Government wrote in a parliamentary announcement a year ago.
The Labour and Welfare Directorate estimates that child welfare and cash support in 2015 amounted to 15.8 per cent of an average annual income in Norway. For Poland, the figure is 95.8 per cent and in Lithuania a staggering 122.3 per cent of an average annual income.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today