On January 1, Austria lowered family benefits paid for foreigners working in the country to the price levels of the country of residence of the child. Justice ministry state secretary Pál Völner said Hungary will turn to the Court of Justice of the European Union if the European Commission opts against launching an infringement procedure against Austria. For Hungary, the interests of Hungarian workers come first, and the government does everything in its power to make sure their rights are not infringed upon abroad, he said.
As a result of the benefit cuts, the Austrian government now only pays 56% of the official family allowance to Hungarians working there if their children live in Hungary, Völner explained. On January 7, the Hungarian government presented a diplomatic note to the Austrian government explaining that the country’s changes to its family benefit system and personal income tax preferences violate EU regulations, the state secretary said. But since Austria has not addressed these concerns, Hungary has decided to turn to Marianne Thyssen, the EU commissioner, he added.