Belgium and the Netherlands to share data to fight social fraud
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    Belgium and the Netherlands to share data to fight social fraud

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The Belgian and Dutch inspection services will share their electronic data in order to fight social fraud. Philippe De Backer (Open Vld), Secretary of State in whose competence this file lies, indeed signed Monday a declaration going in that direction with his Dutch counterpart Tamara van Ark (VVD). For their part, the competent administrations, among which the National Employment Office (ONEM) and National Social Security Office (ONSS), have signed an agreement to allow as of now data sharing.

    The aim of this agreement between the two countries is in particular to detect fraud in connection with unemployment benefits. It concerns for example people who receive such allowances in one country while working in the other. Another spearhead of this project is the fight against social dumping.

    “Our two countries stand out by their solidarity,” revealed Philippe De Backer in the speech he gave in the Benelux Union buildings, in Brussels. “We are hearty societies, where people care for each other. However, that solidarity rests on the trust that there is no abuse.”

    “Our social security money must benefit the persons who really need it. Hence, I esteem incomprehensible the fact that some people take us all for a ride by cheating. I want to be an ally for people of good will, on both sides of the border,” added the Secretary of State against social fraud.

    His Dutch counterpart Tamara van Ark shares that point of view. “If someone in the Netherlands benefits from a social allowance and at the same time legally works in Belgium, the municipality (which pays that allowance, editor’s note) ignores all about it,” she regrets. “From now on, it’s going to change. We must be capable of detecting a Dutchman benefitting from allowances while, in fact, working as a mason in Gent just as well as a person who frauds in the Netherlands.”

    Philippe De Backer hopes that this example will inspire other countries across Europe and speaks in favor of a European database. Before such an advance is made, Belgium has already concluded bilateral deals with countries such as Poland or Bulgaria. “With the results of this pilot project, we may go before the European Commission, and speak in favor of a similar collaboration at the European level,” he says with ambition.

    Marianne Thyssen (CD&V), the European commissioner in charge of Social Affairs is actually working on a European Employment Authority, which must take on social fraud at the level of the continent.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times