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24 June, 2024
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EU Commission's roadmap for seamless social security services

How digital tools will transform social security access

Newsroom / CNA

European Commission has proposed concrete steps to further digitalise the coordination of social security systems in Europe, in a dedicated Communication. It lays out actions to make access to social security services quicker and simpler across borders by making full use of digital tools, reducing administrative burden for citizens and business.

According to a press release, this will improve the exchanges of information between national social security institutions and speed up the recognition and granting of eligible benefits across borders. It will thus make it easier for Europeans to live, work and travel abroad, for companies to do business in other EU countries, and for national administrations to coordinate social security across borders.

Despite previous initiatives to improve the cross-border flow of social security information, national institutions, healthcare providers and labour inspectorates still face difficulties accessing and sharing data, due to insufficient interoperability between national systems. Costs are also incurred, for instance, when issuing and verifying entitlements documents.

Today's Communication takes stock of the progress achieved so far in digitalising the coordination of social security, presents the ongoing initiatives in this area, and proposes future actions to make full use of the benefits that digitalisation can provide.

The Commission calls on Member States to accelerate the national implementation of the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI) so that it is fully operational by the end of 2024 across Europe. EESSI digitalises the exchanges among national social security institutions, to move away from paper-based, time-consuming and cumbersome procedures.

Member states are also called to deliver more social security coordination procedures fully online, to make it even easier for people to move and work abroad, and ensure they get fast access to their eligible benefits. Member States can build on the Single Digital Gateway Regulation, which foresees a fully online delivery of some important administrative procedures to citizens and businesses by 12 December 2023 at the latest.

Moreover, they are called to fully engage in the European Social Security Pass (ESSPASS) pilot activities, which explore how to simplify the issuance and verification of citizens' social security entitlements across borders, as well as work towards introducing EU Digital Identity (EUDI) wallets, which will allow EU citizens to carry digital versions of entitlement documents, such as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), making it easier for social security institutions, labour inspectorates and healthcare providers to instantly verify these documents.

As noted, the Commission will support EU Member States in implementing these actions by providing technical assistance, including through the Technical Support Instrument, and making available EU funding, for instance through the Digital Europe Programme, InvestEU, the European Regional Development Fund, and the European Social Fund Plus.

The European Labour Authority will also play an active role by collecting best practice examples and facilitating regular exchanges among national authorities.

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