Commission requests Cyprus to clarify the pension rights of former Cypriot civil servants

The European Commission has requested Cyprus to clarify two issues linked to former Cypriot civil servants working in another EU member state or for the EU institutions. The current law in Cyprus states that those with at least 5 years of service and over the age of 45 receive a lump sum payment on departure as well as a consolidated pension when they reach 55. However, civil servants who resign before the age of 45 only receive a lump sum but no future pension entitlement. This age criteria do not apply to certain internal mobility situations such as for civil servants who are recruited by a Cypriot municipal authority, or in certain cases of general interest. This discriminates in particular against Cypriot civil servants who have left their job in the Cypriot national administration to work in another EU member state or for the EU institutions.

In addition, Cypriot civil servants moving to work at the EU institutions are only allowed nine months until they are forced to resign under Cypriot legislation or face disciplinary measures. Conversely, Cypriot civil servants who wish to move internally are usually entitled to several years' unpaid leave before being forced to resign completely.

Both the age criteria in determining pension rights and the risk of facing disciplinary measures linked to moving to the EU institutions dissuades civil servants from exercising their right to free movement and therefore breaches EU law.

The Commission's request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Cyprus now has two months to inform the Commission of measures it has taken to bring its legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise the Commission may decide to refer Cyprus to the Court of Justice of the EU.


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