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Recent social policy initiatives in Liechtenstein, FYR of Macedonia, Portugal and Slovenia

10/02/2017

Four new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social policy Network (ESPN) have just become available and provide information on recent policy initiatives in Liechtenstein, the FYR of Macedonia, Portugal and Slovenia.

  • In 2016, the Liechtenstein parliament questioned the government on its published in-work poverty figures and analysis of the domestic situation regarding in-work poverty. It also asked the government for an opinion on measures to combat relative poverty. The government responded that the existing social benefit schemes and progressive tax system are effective and that there is therefore no need for a new strategy. In addition, it has not committed to providing regular poverty/in-work poverty data and analysis.
  • To boost the country’s low fertility rate, the FYR of Macedonia introduced in 2010 a universal flat-rate parental allowance for the third child which is almost 4.5 times higher than child benefit and twice as high as the special child allowance for families with disabled children. While the scheme did contribute to increasing the number of third-born children, poverty in households of two adults with three or more dependent children has been rising consistently over the last three years. The effectiveness and financial sustainability of this very costly and isolated scheme is being questioned by NGOs, opposition parties and other stakeholders. 
  • The Portuguese government has proposed to reform the contributory scheme for the self-employed covering all social risks with a view to improving their social protection. The budgetary framework is very strict since the reform should not have a negative impact on the financial sustainability of the country’s social security system.
  • The Social Assistance Benefits Act was amended in Slovenia to improve the take-up of cash benefits among older persons in need. Since February 2017, eligibility conditions related to inheritance have been relaxed: the benefits received will no longer have to be reimbursed to the state after the death of a beneficiary who owned and lived in a flat/house worth less than 120,000 EUR.