Brussels takes Netherlands to court over 'old-age discrimination'
NETHERLANDS – The European Commission has summoned the Netherlands to the EU's Court of Justice over pension allowance issues for elderly taxpayers living abroad.
The Commission said it was taking the Netherlands to court for discriminating against pensioners who live abroad when paying out an allowance for elderly taxpayers.
Under the Dutch law in question, which came into force on 1 June 2011, allowances are paid to persons aged 65 years and above who can prove that at least 90% of their world income is taxable in the Netherlands.
However, according to the Commission, the allowance is not granted to people living outside the Netherlands in practice.
It stressed that, under EU law on social security coordination, entitlement to an old-age benefit cannot be conditional on the pensioner living in the member state where he or she claims the benefit.
"This rule enables pensioners to move to another member state when they retire whilst retaining their pension," it said.
The Commission added that the allowance paid to elderly people was classed as an old-age benefit under EU social security coordination rules.
It went on to argue that the Dutch regulation was adopted "against" the advice given by the Dutch Council of State, which warned that the approach chosen by the Netherlands ran counter to its obligations under EU law.
"The Commission also advised the Dutch government early on in the legislative process that the proposed national law would be incompatible with EU law," it said.
"The Commission requested the Netherlands end discriminating against pensioners living abroad in May 2012, but no measures to end the discrimination have been notified to the Commission."