Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 03/08/2021

Recent social policy developments in Croatia, Latvia and Kosovo*

Three new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) are now available and provide information on recent social policy developments in Croatia, Latvia and Kosovo.

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  • The National Benefit for the Elderly Act, adopted after lengthy public debates involving representatives of all relevant stakeholders, has been in force since 1 January 2021. Persons with a Croatian citizenship, over the age of 65 and with permanent residence in the country are eligible for this benefit. Six months after its implementation, it appears that the number of applicants for this benefit is significantly lower than originally expected, and the government needs to remove some administrative barriers for delivering this benefit to mostly poor elderly people.
  • As of January 2022 in Latvia, the universal flat-rate family benefit will be considerably increased and the whole system simplified and made more transparent. The benefit level will no longer depend on birth order, but only on the number of dependent children. The benefit, however, as previously, will not be means-tested, has no link to any benchmark (such as median equalised income, consumer index, minimum wage or guaranteed minimum income) and no regular indexation is foreseen. Social bursaries for children from multi-child families attending higher education institutions are expected to be launched in September 2021.
  • Nearly 15,000 people were hired in Kosovo in March 2020 on at least a one-year contract, thanks to an incentive paid by the Government at an amount equal to €130 per month for the first two months. This successful trial, which was part of the Government’s early response to COVID-19, has inspired a new move: the Government has now allocated €10 million to guaranteed jobs for young people (18-24 years old), paying at least an upgraded €250 statutory minimum wage.

(*) This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence

The ESPN Flash Reports reflect the views only of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information they contain.

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