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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 Commission has requested Romania to comply with Regulation (EC) No 1408/71 and Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on social security coordination when calculating the pension rights of Greek citizens who worked in Romania before its accession to the European Union.
The Romanian authorities currently refuse to take into consideration the periods of work of Greek migrants before the accession of Romania to the EU. This refusal is based on a bilateral agreement signed between Romania and Greece in 1996. In the context of that agreement, Romania paid Greece a fixed amount of USD 15 million and Greece is taking charge of the pensions corresponding to maximum 15 years worked. This means that working periods exceeding 15 years are currently lost in terms of pension rights for the workers.
The Commission considers that the bilateral agreement cannot be used to deprive the rights of individuals that are directly granted by EU law and that Romania owes the workers the additional pension rights even if they correspond to periods prior to the accession of Romania to the EU.
The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. Romania now has two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to fully implement the Regulations. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Romania to the European Court of Justice.