Employment and Social Policy Council : Deal on Social Security Benefits Remains Elusive

European Social Policy, June 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

Employment and Social Policy Council : Deal on Social Security Benefits Remains Elusive


The question whether non-EU nationals who reside legally in the Union should be entitled to the same social security benefits across national borders as nationals of the EU member states continues to divide the 27 member states. The expectation was for the Social Policy Council to hammer out a political agreement, on 8 June in Luxembourg. However, the Czech EU Presidency's compromise proposal failed to break the impasse, and the dossier will now be passed on to the Swedish EU Presidency.

The proposal on the ministers' table sought to extend the provisions of Regulation 883/2004 to nationals of third countries who are not already covered by these provisions solely becasue of their nationality. The two last outstanding issues concerned the principle of equal treatment towards non-EU nationals and the possibility to export pensions to third countries.

The Czech compromise, which included an assessment of the German and Austrian exemptions after two years, was accepted by Germany and Austria. However, several member states rejected it, while others, such as the Netherlands, also asked for exemptions.

Germany and Austria, which already have exemptions in place for non-EU workers who hold a special permit and are legally residents, want to expand these exemptions to all workers from outside the EU, whereas countries like Spain, Belgium, Hungary and other Southern member states seek to extend social security entitlements to all third-country nationals living in one EU country but working in another EU country. …

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