SOLVIT is an informal problem solving network in which EU Member States work together to solve, without legal proceedings, problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market law by public authorities. There is a SOLVIT centre in every European Union Member State (as well as in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). SOLVIT Centres can help with handling complaints from both citizens and businesses. They are part of the national administration and are committed to providing real solutions to problems within ten weeks. Using SOLVIT is free of charge.
The Internal Market offers citizens and businesses many opportunities. You may want to move to another country in the European Union, to study, to work, to follow your partner or to enjoy life after retirement. Or you may want to set up a business or sell your products or services in another EUMember State.
Sometimes problems arise because of a lack of information about your rights in Europe and about how procedures work in other EUMember States. In such cases, the “Your Europe” portal on the Europa website can help to clarify matters. But if you are already well informed about your internal market rights and have tried in vain to exercise them in another EUcountry, SOLVIT is there to help you.
Where SOLVIT can help
SOLVIT deals with cross-border problems between a business or a citizen on the one hand and a national public authority on the other, where there is possible misapplication of EU law. The policy areas SOLVIT has mostly dealt with so far are:
- Recognition of Professional qualifications and diplomas – Access to education – Residence permits -Voting rights – Social security – Employment rights – Driving licences – Motor vehicle registration -Border controls – Market access for products – Market access for services – Establishment as self-employed – Public procurement – Taxation – Free movement of capital or payments.
When you submit a case the Irish SOLVIT centre will first check the details of your application to make sure that it does indeed concern the misapplication of Internal Market rules and that all the necessary information has been made available. It will raise the problem with the appropriate authority in Ireland or with its counterpart in the Member State concerned on behalf of the client.
During 2008 the Irish SOLVIT centre was among the fastest to resolve submitted cases. The Irish SOLVIT centre resolved more than 90% of all problems submitted to them and the vast majority were resolved within the 10 week deadline.
According to the 2008 SOLVIT Report on Development and Performance of the SOLVIT network, Ireland attracts a relatively large number of social security problems. The very marked increase in the number of migrant workers in Ireland since enlargement has led to delays in the processing of certain social security claims – mainly in the area of family benefits – and this has resulted in a corresponding increase in the number of complaints.
Irish Success Stories
Irish mortgages meet French taxes
An Irish woman wished to invest in property in France for which she wanted to take out a mortgage with an Irish mortgage provider. The French Finance Ministry informed her that the mortgage interest on the rental income would not be treated as deductible when assessing liability to income tax in France. However, if she were to take out a mortgage with a French mortgage agent, the mortgage interest on the rental income would be treated as deductible.
After investigating the case, SOLVIT found that revenues deriving from French sources should be determined in equal terms whether the owner does or does not have his/her fiscal residence in France. As there should be no condition tied to nationality or quality of the loaner, the interests of the debts constricted by a non-residing taxpayer to an Irish establishment for the conservation, acquisition, repairing or the improvement of a property are admitted to tax inference; SOLVIT determined there should be no problem for the Irish woman’s Irish mortgage payment interests to be tax deductible in France.
Solved within 8 weeks.
SOLVIT defends the rights of Irish citizens’ spouses
While flying between St. Petersburg and Ireland, an Irish citizen and his Russian spouse had a two-hour stopover in a Prague airport. Bad weather delayed their arrival in Prague, causing them to miss their connecting flight home to Ireland. Czech immigration authorities refused the Irish citizen’s non-EU spouse her transit visa, despite the presentation of both passports, the Russian wife’s Irish Immigration card, and her third country national visa stating that she is the legitimate Spouse of an Irish Citizen. They were forced to spend the night in the airport. After being contacted by SOLVIT, the Czech Ministry of Interior admitted that refusal to issue the visa to the client was not consistent with Czech legislation or appropriate procedures, and that it should not happen again. The approach of the Czech custom official was purely an individual failure and was not a consequence of structural problems concerning domestic legislation or the application of appropriate regulations. The couple accepted the apology presented by the Ministry.
Solved within 3 weeks.
Irish SOLVIT Centre
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Tel: +353 1 631 38 74
Fax: +353 1 631 38 53