In response to the unprecedented crisis afflicting Greece and in line with the demands of the Troika, Law 4093/2012 has been adopted, amending pension arrangements for elderly migrants who have returned from northern Epirus and the former USSR. As a result, over 20,000 uninsured elderly returnees are now only entitled to pensions if they have been resident in Greece for at least 20 years and not receiving a pension from any other source inside or outside Greece.
Given the provisions of the ECHR and the case law established by the ECJ and ECHR:
1. Can the Commission indicate whether the principles and values of the European Union are being infringed, given that these elderly returnees are effectively being deprived of healthcare and social security benefits and assistance?
2. Is the minimum 20-year residence requirement applicable to a citizen of an EU Member State regarding eligibility for non-contributory benefits not excessive, given that the minimum period stipulated under EC law (Directives 2004/38 and 2003/109/EC) is much less, that is to say only five years?
Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission
Regulation (EC) No 883/2004(1) provides for the coordination and not the harmonisation of social security schemes(2). This means that each Member State is free to organise its social security system and to lay down the conditions under which social security benefits are granted, as long as it complies with the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination.
The regulation does not apply to activities which are confined in all relevant respects within a single Member State. Such is also the case where the situation of a person is linked solely with a non-member country and one single Member State(3),
If the persons, to whom the Honourable Member refers, received Greek citizenship then the EC law on the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents(4) is not applicable.
Directive 2004/38/EC(5) is not relevant either, as it refers to EU citizens moving from one Member State to another one.
Thus, social security for Greek migrants who have moved to Greece from third countries is an issue of national competence.
(1) Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems, OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(2) Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-208/07, Petra von Chamier-Glisczinski v Deutsche Angestellen-Krankenkasse, EU:C:2009:455, paragraph 84.
(3) Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-95/99, Kgalil, EU:C:2001:532, paragraphs 71-72.
(4) Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25.11.2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents, OJ L 16, 23.1.2004, p. 44‐53.
(5) Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29.4.2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC, OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77‐123.