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'Fairer rules' on social security agreed for workers abroad

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'Fairer rules' on social security agreed for workers abroad

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(BRUSSELS) - The EU institutions came to a provisional agreement Wednesday on new rules to ensure 'fair and clear' access to social security benefits for EU workers who have moved to a different EU country.

The agreement on modernised rules to coordinate national social security systems, reached by the EU Parliament's Employment Committee negotiators and EU ministers, focuses on facilitating labour mobility within the EU, while safeguarding workers' social rights in cross-border situations, by determining under which country's system a person is insured (i.e. paying contributions and receiving benefits).

About 17 million European citizens live or work in another Member State – twice as many as a decade ago. Millions more travel regularly to other European countries for holidays, work and family reasons.

The agreement updates and safeguards the rights of citizens moving to another EU country and facilitates the cooperation between national authorities. Among its innovations, job seekers will be given more time to find work abroad and the long-term care needs of older people living abroad will also be addressed. Moreover, national authorities will have better tools to address abuse or fraud and to verify the social security status of posted workers.

"In times of increased labour mobility, protecting social rights is of utmost importance," said the Parliament's rapporteur Guillaume Balas MEP: "Member states will no longer be able to apply unilaterally national periods. This leads to workers having more social security in Europe. These additional rules will improve cooperation between member states and strengthen the tools to address potential cases of abuse."

Each EU Member State determines the features of its own social security system, including which benefits are provided, the conditions for eligibility, how these benefits are calculated and what contributions should be paid, and this for all social security branches, such as old age, unemployment and family benefits.

To ensure these essential rights are not lost when travelling or living abroad, regulations have been put in place at EU level over the last sixty years to ensure the coordination of such systems. These rules cover the EU28 as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The rules help to determine which system a mobile citizen is subject to. This prevents a person in a cross-border situation from being left without social protection, or from having double coverage.

Further information European Parliament

Procedure file

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