May 07, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

Here’s how Austria’s indexing discriminates against Hungarians

According to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, the recent decision on family supplements by the Austrian Government is unfair and unjust to the people of Hungary. PM Orbán’s government will do whatever it takes to protect the interests of Hungarians abroad.

Last week, Austria’s coalition government decided to tie family benefits for foreign citizens working in Austria to the average price index of the country where their children reside. According to official data, the measure would affect more than 39,000 Hungarian children. This issue isn’t just about Hungary. It’s about Europe and clearly violates European law.

The current family allowance policy grants 172.4 euros for each child, but once the modifications are set in place, this amount will fall. For example, in the case of Hungary, a steep 47 percent decrease will cut the amount to as low as 93.61 euros, while in Greece the rate will fall to 136.54 euros. Considering that foreign citizens who work in Austria make social security payments just like an Austrian citizen, the recent decision is clearly unfair and discriminates against citizens from countries with lower average price indexes.

“Hungary expects Europe’s institutions to enforce European regulations and European treaties. If the Commission uses a common standard, it must take action against this infringement of European law,” said FM Szijjártó. He added that while “Austria is one of our important partners,” we have a serious dispute when it comes to this particular issue.

“Hungary’s government always takes action against anyone who treats Hungarians unfairly and unjustly,” the minister said, and this case is no exception. “We cannot accept the fact that despite Hungarians conforming to all tax and contribution payment requirements in Austria, they should receive lower family benefits than Austrian citizens who pay exactly the same taxes and contributions.”

While we enjoy our close relationship with Austria, the government of Hungary cannot ignore this. We will take the necessary steps in order to enforce the relevant European legislation and stop Austria from openly discriminating against Hungarians who work just as hard to contribute to the Austrian economy.