Should Luxembourg pay cross-border unemployment benefits?

In December the European Commission (EC) proposed to overhaul the rules on benefits for EU migrants. Currently unemployment benefits are covered by the country of residence but the EC proposes that the state in which the employee has worked and paid taxes should cover the benefits, even if the employee no longer resides there.

This would have a great affect on Luxembourg with it’s disproportionate cross-border community and Labour Minister Nicolas Schmit made his feelings clear on the matter on Friday to Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs.

For the minister, the situation would be impossible to manage: “How can we verify if the unemployed person residing abroad makes every effort to find a new job?” He asked at a press conference last Friday, after meeting with Thyssen.

If this reform were to be implemented, it would mean that Luxembourg would have to pay 12 months of unemployment to the worker, which, according to the EC, would represent at least 60 million euros per year. Nicholas Scmit had already expressed concern about this issue last December.

Marianne Thyssen, said she understood his concerns: “There should be the possibility of controlling these situations in order to apply these rules,” he said.

European Employment Ministers will meet in early March to discuss these proposals from the European Commission.