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 Index 
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Debates
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Coordination of social security systems (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Jean Lambert, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, when I first came to this Parliament some 20 years ago now, the first legislative file I worked on was the overall revision of the coordination of social security systems. We voted through that agreement, now Regulation (EC) No 883/2004, in the final plenary week of that parliamentary term. I had hoped by the time I had finished my time in Parliament to be voting through a similar agreement with Council on the latest update, but unfortunately that’s not going to be the case due to big divisions in Council. And why not? Because I believe this file has become a mix of narrow national political interests and people trying to use the regulation to fix problems which are not its core business.

My political group has tried to keep the citizen as the person concerned in the language of the text at the centre of that approach, and those citizens are not only workers, family members, students, travellers, but anyone covered by a social security system and in a cross—border situation. We welcome the clear inclusion of long-term care in the updated regulation, but we start from the belief that the overwhelming majority of citizens and their employers want to stay on the right side of the rules and thus protect their entitlements, so it helps if the rules are clear and as easy as possible to follow, with a degree of flexibility that reflects and assists daily life. It also helps if there is an effective administration that responds quickly and assists people, rather than acting as a bureaucratic barrier that pushes people to take chances.

Generally, we support the committee report. The only amendment – Amendment 197 – that we’ve reintroduced concerns this blessed A1 form, an attestation and not a permission, and we’ve proposed the issuing of an open A1, valid for three months, so that an individual who travels often on business doesn’t have to make multiple applications that are time-consuming for the person concerned and the administration.

As regards the other amendments tabled, we don’t support the indexation of family benefits. We believe that a cross-border worker is entitled to equal treatment, and that such a measure is not cost effective, though some governments may find it politically expedient.

We also point out that this report strengthens the oversight possibilities for Member States and they can always adopt bilateral measures if necessary, which makes far more sense than trying to adapt the whole regulation to fix a bilateral problem. So we believe the committee has found a sound basis for this proposal, and we believe it provides a sound basis for negotiation for the next Parliament.

 
Last updated: 9 July 2019Legal notice