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According to a study just published by the European Commission in most EU countries, EU citizens from other Member States use welfare benefits no more intensively than the host country's nationals. Mobile EU citizens are less likely to receive disability and unemployment benefits in most countries studied.
The joint responsibility of Member States and the EU institutions to uphold EU citizens' rights to live and work in another EU country is underlined in a policy paper just adopted by the European Commission.
The Commission's paper outlines five concrete actions to help national and local authorities to:
The Communication analyses the impact of mobile EU citizens on the welfare systems of host Member States. The factual evidence overwhelmingly suggests that most EU citizens moving to another Member State do so to work. They are more likely to be economically active than nationals and less likely to claim social benefits.
In fact, the percentage of mobile EU citizens who receive benefits is relatively low, compared to Member States' own nationals and non-EU nationals. In most Member States mobile EU citizens are net contributors to the host country's welfare system.
With over 14 million EU citizens resident in another Member State, free movement – or the ability to live, work and study anywhere in the Union – is the EU right most cherished by Europeans. EU workers have been benefitting from this right since the dawn of the European Union, with the principle enshrined in the first European Treaty of Rome in 1957.