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European Parliament and EU governments close a long-awaited deal on social security coordination benefiting around 14 million Europeans


16 Dec 2021


Social Europe & Jobs

Today, the European Parliament and EU governments agreed to update the rules for social security coordination, including unemployment benefits, long-term care and family benefits, as well as better rules for posting workers and applicable legislation. Once approved, these new rules will help millions of mobile European workers by guaranteeing more social security for workers moving from one EU country to another. Around 14 million EU residents live or work in another member state. The social security systems that apply to them are determined by the relevant individual EU countries.

Gabriele Bischoff, S&D MEP and vice-president and the European Parliament's negotiator on social security coordination, said:

"Today is a good day for European workers. After four years of intense negotiations, we finally managed to close a progressive deal on better coordination of social security benefits for EU mobile workers. More and more European citizens work in another EU country, making the protection of their social rights of the utmost importance. Earlier we agreed on rules to better protect mobile workers in need of long-term care, family benefits and aggregation and export of unemployment benefits.

“If workers are posted or sent to another member state to work, they remain affiliated to the social security system of their country of origin. Unfortunately, this leads all too often to fraud and lack of accident insurance especially in the construction sector. To prevent such cases, today we secured mandatory information prior to the posting of workers for the construction sector.

“We also strengthened the rights of cross-border workers, such as frontier and seasonal workers, to secure their entitlements from another EU country, as well as managing to strengthen the rules to determine objective criteria to prevent the creation of letterbox companies.

"Today's deal will bring real progress for millions of Europeans. I am proud of what we achieved today. We expect EU governments to endorse this agreement next week as it brings more clarity and fairness to labour mobility in the EU."

Note to the editor:

Social security systems differ significantly from one member state to another. Article 48 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for their coordination, but not harmonisation. The existing legislation needs updating to reflect changes on the labour market, in national social security systems and the case law of the European Court of Justice. On 13 December 2016, the European Commission published a proposal. The European Parliament adopted its position in December 2018 and decided to enter negotiations with EU governments. Since then, negotiations had been ongoing, with a first agreement rejected by Coreper and a second deal carried over into the next legislature after a plenary decision. The political agreement reached today is the result of the 17th trilogue, but still needs to be confirmed by EU member states on 22 December 2022 and by the full plenary of the European Parliament.


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