By Matt Ritchie
The European Commission has given the Netherlands two months to bring its pension legislation into line with EU law or risk being referred to the European Court of Justice over what the commission calls discriminatory treatment of pensioners living abroad.
In a statement, the commission said the situation arises out of Dutch law’s treatment of 'koopkrachttegemoetkoming oudere belastingplichtigen', or the purchasing power allowance for elderly taxpayers.
Legislation provides that the allowance is paid to persons aged 65 years and over who can show that at least 90 per cent of their world income is taxable in the Netherlands, meaning those outside the country are not granted the allowance.
Under EU law, entitlement to an old age benefit cannot be conditional on the pensioner living in the Member State where he or she claims the benefit, enabling pensioners to move to another Member State when they retire whilst retaining their pension.
The commission said it has received a large number of complaints from citizens on the issue, and has made the request in the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures.
“The Netherlands now has two months to inform the commission of measures taken to bring its legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise the commission may decide to refer the Netherlands to the Court of Justice of the EU,” the commission said.