Austrian right-wing coalition doubles down on benefit cuts for foreigners

Austria’s right-wing coalition government has doubled down on plans to cut benefits for foreigners including refugees, risking opposition from the rest of the EU. The cabinet unveiled the modified plan on Monday, which would cap single refugees’ main benefit payment at €563 ($656) a month, rising to the €863 available to Austrians if the refugees pass a German test. “The fundamental rule we will introduce is that German will become the key to accessing the full minimum benefit,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said. “That means that whoever has insufficient language skills will not be able to claim the full minimum benefit.” The decision raises the question of whether the new plan will be blocked by the Constitutional Court, which has ruled that refugees must be treated better than other foreigners because they cannot return to their home countries, Reuters said.