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Commission requests Germany to pay beneficiaries full pension granted under bilateral agreements

Couple using a calculator © Yuri Arcurs, under license of

The European Commission has requested Germany to pay pension beneficiaries the full amount of pensions granted under a bilateral agreement when a citizen moves to another EU country.

The Commission contacted the German authorities after receiving a complaint from a former Bulgarian, now German national, who has lived in Germany for 50 years. Since 1988 he has been receiving a German old-age pension however the German pension institution has informed him that if he takes up residence in Bulgaria, the amount of his pension transferred to Bulgaria would be reduced by more than one third, from over €650 to less than €400.

This agreement established between Bulgaria and Germany (before Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007), provides for the payment of a differential supplement. To calculate this supplement, a comparison is made between the work periods acquired in Bulgaria and in Germany and the theoretical amount which is based on a calculation as if all periods were acquired in the country of residence. According to Germany, if the citizen moves to Bulgaria, he loses this differential amount since Germany is no longer the state of residence.

The Commission's request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Germany has two months to inform Commission of measures it has taken to bring its legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise the Commission may decide to refer Germany to the EU's Court of Justice.