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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Coordination of social security systems (debate)

  Marianne Thyssen, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I am pleased to be here for this debate on the revision of the regulations on social security coordination. Fifteen years after the last revision, this Commission has proposed a new and necessary modernisation. That modernisation is much needed to address new challenges and opportunities in the fields of long-term care, unemployment benefits, family benefits and the rules on applicable legislation for posted workers. We adopted our proposal more than two years ago in order to ensure fairness in the free movement of workers and citizens in the internal market. I would like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Guillaume Balas, and the many Members of the Parliament who deeply invested in this file, to bring about the improvements that our citizens, our workers and our businesses are waiting for. Facilitating parental leave allowances for mobile citizens, clarifying the right of citizens in need of long-term care, giving job seekers more opportunities to find work abroad – these are some examples on how the proposed modernisation would improve citizens’ daily life.

For me, honourable Members, it has always been essential to coordinate social security systems with rules that are clear, fair and enforceable. This is indeed the only way to secure continued support for our internal markets. Fairness means that the rules are equitable to all and not designed to benefit one category of stakeholders to the detriment of the others. It means taking into account the interests of both the Member States of origin and the receiving Member States. Fairness means rules that allow mobile citizens and workers to move to another country in proper conditions and take into account the interests of taxpayers and the interest in maintaining adequate social security systems. Fairness means for me also preserving the business opportunities for all the companies and the self-employed that make use of free movement in good faith to serve clients across Europe, be it businesses or consumers. And fairness also means preserving and improving tools to fight abuses and fraud. These are the principles on which we have based our proposal.

These have also been the objectives that have guided us throughout the interinstitutional negotiations with the Parliament and the Council. The provisional agreement that we reached in trilogues has not been confirmed, because there was no sufficient majority amongst the Member States. But I believe that the compromise that we reached should inspire us for the work that remains to be done.

Mr President, dear rapporteur, shadow rapporteurs, Members of Parliament, this Parliament now has the opportunity to agree on its position in first reading and thereby open the way for further progress in this important file. I count on your constructive spirit and on our shared motivation to make good use of this opportunity. This is what our citizens, our workers and our businesses expect from us.

Last updated: 9 July 2019Legal notice