More child benefit for foreigners: that’s not a bad news at first

"If EU foreigners come to Germany and do regular work here, they acquire a claim."

A small request from the AfD parliamentary group revealed that the Federal Republic, as of December, transfers child benefit to 215,499 children abroad. The report, which is based on a report by the newspapers of the editorial network Germany, shows that most of these children live in Poland (103,000), Croatia (17,000) and Romania (17,000).

AfD MP René Springer accused the federal government of failing to make it, "adjust the child benefit for foreign children abroad to the corresponding cost of living in their home countries". The FDP Group’s spokesman for child policy, Matthias Seestern-Pauly, said to the RND newspapers: "Once again, the impression is raised, untruthfully and consciously, that there is a systematic abuse of social benefits. this is not the case."

We called Seestern-Pauly to get one with him pair To clarify questions. What is the legal basis for these payments?

Matthias Seestern-Pauly: The legal basis is simply the German Child Allowance Act, but also parts of the Income Tax Act.

It is about a sum of 343 million euros.

To put it in a nutshell: the total volume of child benefit payments last year was over 36 billion euros. Around 36 billion euros of this was paid out to domestic accounts. 343 million euros were transferred to accounts abroad. This includes, for example, all payments made to children of German parents who live abroad. In addition, all eligible payments to foreign parents who live, work and pay taxes in Germany. From this you can already see that the proportion at which one could talk about abuse is very small.

The Union has long wanted to cut child benefit for EU foreigners with children abroad. Why didn’t that happen long ago??

On the one hand, the EU Commission made it very clear some time ago that it does not want to change the corresponding EU directive. The second component is: The German legal situation states that those who live in Germany and pay taxes are entitled to child benefit. Those who do so acquire, of course, rights in addition to their duties – paying taxes and social security contributions. Cutting their child benefit would run counter to the intentions of the German Child Allowance Act.

Is there a counter-calculation of how much parents living in Germany of children living abroad pay taxes and social security contributions here?

The numbers show that the German labor market is very attractive. The amount of child benefit payments abroad has increased tenfold since 2010. One does not have to see bad news in this development: Many EU citizens have apparently come to Germany to start work here. This size alone shows that Germany was able to attract skilled workers abroad – and we benefit from it. Anyone who speaks to medium-sized companies often hears the phrase: We lack specialists. In this respect, the Federal Republic benefits from the fact that there are more foreign taxpayers in Germany.

The then economics minister Sigmar Gabriel said in December 2016 that trafficking gangs would buy scrap properties in Germany and rent them out to Romanians and Bulgarians. The child benefit for their children would then be paid by the "traffickers" conceded. Is that true?

Our position as FDP is: where there is abuse, it must be combated consistently. At the same time, if EU foreigners go to Germany come and here they have a regular job, live here, work and pay taxes, then they earn a claim. I think it makes little sense to suspect entire nationalities that shape the European Union together with us put.

Hubertus Volmer spoke with Matthias Seestern-Pauly


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