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EU vote could play havoc with Danish rules on unemployment benefits

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EU vote could play havoc with Danish rules on unemployment benefits
File photo: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias/Ritzau Scanpix
17:28 CET+01:00
A vote taken by the European Union's parliament on Tuesday may have consequences for Denmark's social welfare model.

A narrow majority in the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday voted in favour of a mandate for negotiation of social security systems. That means negotiations over new rules between the EU commission and parliament and member states can commence, Ritzau reports.

The proposal could give EU citizens the right to Denmark's unemployment insurance fund, dagpenge, after a single day's employment in the Scandinavian country, according to the report.

Danish MEPs had sought to reopen negotiations over the mandate to prevent this eventuality, but appear to have failed after Tuesday's vote.

Social Democrat MEP Christel Schaldemose called the vote result a “potential bomb under the Danish unemployment benefits system”.

“I am disappointed that it has been so difficult to make our colleagues understand that this potentially undermines our system. I'm very, very disheartened right now,” Schaldemose said.

The Liberal party's MEP Morten Løkkegaard also said he was concerned.

“We must prepare for the worst possible scenario. And that is a serious scenario which gravely threatens the Danish way of doing things,” he said.

“We must consider activating article 48, which means that we as a state can intervene to delay things. The funding of our welfare system could be seriously damaged by this,” Løkkegaard continued.

The aim of the proposal is to promote free movement of labour within the EU by guaranteeing the rights of workers in situations in which more than one country's regulations apply, Ritzau writes.

The proposal in its current form is not yet guaranteed to make it into legislation, however.

345 MEPs voted in favour of the negotiation mandate and 287 voted against. The relatively slim majority leaves room for a potential ultimate rejection of the change, according to Løkkegaard.

READ ALSO: Denmark to keep unemployment insurance money paid by people who lose eligibility under new rules

 
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