EU grants Swedes child support in Denmark

EU grants Swedes child support in Denmark
Southern Swedes who cross the Öresund Bridge as part of their daily commute to work in Denmark are set to finally benefit from Danish child support, after the EU intervened to settle an ongoing dispute between the Scandinavian neighbours.

Since 2012, foreign workers have campaigned to get full child benefits which were denied to them by the Danish government. However, the EU has now granted retroactive repayments to the 1,900 people who were affected by the lingering stand-off, reported news agency Öresund Direct on Tuesday.

The system was introduced by the previous Danish government in an attempt to prevent welfare fraud. Any Swedish or other foreign worker who took a job in Denmark was denied child support for the first six months of being on leave, and would only be entitled to the financial support after two years in their job.

Thousands of workers cross the bridge from the southern Skåne region to Denmark on a daily basis. Danish salaries are typically higher. Since the Öresund Bridge opened in the year 2000, the number of foreign workers living in Sweden – which has more generous immigration policies – taking up employment in Denmark has increased dramatically.

“I know people who have turned down jobs in Denmark as they had many children and decided it wasn’t worth it,” said Bengt-Olle Andersson, Öresund region expert and Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) employee in Malmö.

The European Commission urged Denmark to change the rules after successive EU rulings went up against the domestic law making child care payment inaccesible to foreign workers. An EU regulation from 2004 states that a worker who qualifies for child support in an EU country is also entitled to it across the rest of the European Union.

The Danish Tax Department has now announced that they are changing their policy and the 1,900 people who haven’t received full child allowance will be paid any outstanding dues. They will be notified where to turn to access the money after the summer.

“This is very positive,” added Andersson.

Patrick Reilly

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