German govt panel to study possible welfare abuse by EU migrants after cities protest

BERLIN – The German government is creating a high-level panel to look into claims that migrants from elsewhere in the European Union are abusing the country’s welfare system.

Last year more than a dozen German cities asked the federal government for help in dealing with a large influx of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria.

This month restrictions eased on the movement of people from those two countries to the rest of the 28-nation EU.

The conservative Christian Social Union, one of three governing parties, has called for nationals from other EU countries to be ineligible for welfare benefits for their first three months in Germany and for welfare cheats to be expelled.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday the panel would examine possible legislation to combat any welfare abuse.