The EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 provides for the modernisation of public administrations in the EU, thus creating transparent, efficient administrations that provide fully digital services and electronic cross-border services. In order to achieve this, the EU Commission has developed an electronic data exchange system based on the recitals of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004, Article 78 of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004, EU Decision E4 and the provision of Article 95 of Regulation (EC) No. 987/2009.
The EU Member States and the four EFTA countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland will get access to the EU Commission’s ‘Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI)’. In July 2017, it was stated that this system would be ready for use and operational within two years. Social security institutions in the EU will then be able to carry out all cross-border data exchanges electronically, rather than by paper. Member States have been given a period of two years to set up the necessary structures and implement the data exchange system in their national systems. From 3 July 2019, it will be mandatory for all social security institutions in the EU to exchange data electronically only.
The objective is to improve and speed up communication between the various social security agencies in participating countries; to use the same standard electronic templates; to streamline processing using the provisions on the coordination social security systems; and to avoid data exchange errors. The digital transmission of data will not only save on administrative and staffing resources, but also material and postage costs. The EESSI project applies to all social security sectors and covers pensions, health insurance and long-term care, workplace accidents and occupational diseases, unemployment and family benefits.
67 access points have been set up in the Member States to transmit electronic messages and data from one access point to another. Five of these access points have been set up in Germany, two at the Federal Employment Agency and one each at the data centres of the German Pension Insurance (DSRV) in Würzburg, the German Liaison Office for Health Insurance Abroad (DVKA) and the German Liaison Office for Accident Insurance Abroad (DGUV).
Implementation in the German Pension Insurance (DRV)
The DSRV access point in Würzburg collects and passes on data from the DRV Bund, the DRV Knappschaft-Bahn-See, the 14 regional institutions of the DRV, the Social Insurance for Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture (SVLFG), the Association of Professional Pension Schemes (ABV) and the General Customs Directorate. Communication via this access point will be done completely electronically in both directions using structured electronic documents (SEDs). The required data is then automatically sent via the EESSI system to the correct recipient in the respective Member State.
The implementation of the EESSI system poses major challenges to national authorities. The software developed by the Commission has to be reconciled with national systems and there are technical details which are still being clarified. In addition, the employees in the various authorities must be trained on how to use the new system so that EESSI can start on time on July 3, 2019.