Germany to limit jobless benefits for other EU citizens

Markets Associated Press

German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (The Associated Press)

The German government has approved legislation that would prevent citizens of other European Union nations who haven't worked in Germany from claiming full jobless benefits in their first five years as residents.

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The Cabinet's decision Wednesday followed a federal court ruling last year that nationals of the other 27 EU countries can seek welfare payments after six months. Labor Minister Andrea Nahles' plan requires parliamentary approval.

EU countries allow full labor market access to other members' citizens, but an EU court has ruled that Germany was entitled to cut off unemployment benefits to EU immigrants who made little or no effort to find work.

Concern about perceived abuse of workers' freedom of movement and of welfare systems was one argument used by advocates of Britain's exit from the EU.