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Hungary starts infringement procedure against Austria over child benefit reforms

Hungary initiated an infringement procedure against Austria on Tuesday over changes introduced by the government in Vienna to the country’s child benefit system, according to a report by Hungarian news agency MTI. 

Image: Shutterstock.com/danielo

The Hungarian government believes the new system, effective from January 1, could negatively affect thousands of Hungarians working in Austria whose children are still in Hungary, according to official sources. The changes, approved by the Austrian Parliament, mean that the level of child benefit will now be calculated according to living costs in the child’s country of origin and not those in Austria.

“The Hungarian government will turn to European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility Marianne Thyssen in order to start an infringement procedure against Austria because of its new family allowance regulation,” Pál Volner, state secretary at the Ministry of Justice, was cited as saying by MTI.

The reform has already been criticized by the European Commission, and the Austrian government has admitted that it could be blocked by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).