Fairer and clearer rules on social benefits for EU mobile workers agreed 

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  • Fair access to social security for mobile workers in the EU
  • Updated rules for unemployment benefits for cross-border workers
  • Better cooperation between member states to ensure access to benefits and root out fraud or errors

New rules aim to ensure access to social security for EU workers who have moved to a different EU country, while fairly distributing obligations among member states.

An agreement on modernised rules to coordinate national social security systems was reached by Employment Committee negotiators and the Slovenian Presidency on Thursday. The new rules focus on facilitating labour mobility within the EU, while safeguarding workers’ social rights in cross-border situations.

Member states should cooperate using the notification system to guarantee that workers have social security. Employers should be able to access information and complete relevant documents online. Finally, the single digital gateway as well as the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI) should be used for relevant procedures.


Gabriele Bischoff (S&D, DE), the lead MEP, said: “We as a Parliament have given everything to achieve better social protection for mobile workers while closing loopholes and preventing abuse and social dumping. This provisional compromise improves mobile workers’ social rights while simplifying procedures. Free movement of workers is an important fundamental right. But it requires fair rules. Today, we contributed to achieving progress on the basis of a difficult but essential compromise. This substantially improves the current regulation. It is therefore a good day for mobile workers in Europe as well as for many companies.”

Background: current principles on coordination of social security systems

  • Citizens are covered by the legislation in one country at a time and only pay contributions in one country (thus preventing overlapping benefits).
  • Foreign EU citizens have the same rights and obligations as nationals (principle of equal treatment or non-discrimination).
  • Previous periods of insurance, work or residence in other countries are taken into account when granting benefits.
  • Cash benefits from one country can be paid throughout the EU and most of them can be exported.

Next steps

The three institutions are now working on the technical details of the text. The Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) is expected to make a decision on 22 December. Afterwards, the informally agreed text will have to be confirmed by MEPs in a plenary vote.