By Linda Aziz-Rohlje & Santiago de la Presilla
For many years now, the European Parliament and Renew Europe have called on the Commission to present a proposal on a European Social Security Pass (ESSP), a digital pass that allows you to track your social security coverage while working or living in another country and to carry your social security rights with you, thus giving you a direct and easy access to your social security information. All this via one digital solution.
This Pass can bring tremendous benefits to many actors. European citizens and workers in the first instance but not only. Also, businesses, employers, labour inspectorates and national authorities, which will be able to deal with your social security information in real time without paper work and long waiting time.
To make it happen, a legislative proposal for an ESSP is urgently needed. The timeline for such a proposal should be moved forward from 2023 to 2022 so an agreement can be reached before the next European elections. Time is of the essence.
The European Union has proven time and time again that it is there to make citizens’ lives easier. Free roaming across the EU is a great example. Since 2017, EU citizens can travel without worrying about exorbitant phone bills when they get home. The Digital COVID Certificate is another example. Since the summer of this year, it has allowed for people to travel between member states, making it so they can prove their vaccination status with a simple QR code.
Whether it is having your European Health Insurance Card always available on your digital wallet or digital document that proves you or your employer pay social contributions in another EU country — if you are a posted worker or work in many countries at the same time. Access to healthcare and improving mobility are issues the pandemic have made even more relevant.
On Wednesday the European Parliament, under the leadership of MEP Dragos Pîslaru, voted on a resolution calling on the Commission to act on this issue: “Mobility is at the heart of European Union, being one of its key values. We have to act fast and facilitate the movement of more than 10 million mobile citizens at all working ages, from all corners of Europe. A digital solution that allows real-time verification of identity, place of work, place of employment, employment relationship and social security benefits will help our citizens to fully enjoy the freedom that we all have at heart — the right of free movement and work in the Union.”
This pass would be developed by using blockchain technology, which makes it impossible for the information to be manipulated or changed, which will do away with fraud. Much like with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, this will provide cross-border verification of social security coverage and tackle the current issues in mobile citizens’ identification and authentication.