In a Parliamentary Question that was put to Commissioner Nicolas
Schmit (Employment and Social Affairs) during the summer, MEP Gabriele Bischoff
(S&D/DE) tried to get more clarity about the previously announced “European
social security pass” project (see News 06/2021). The objective of the pass is not entirely clear
to the MEPs as well as many interest groups based in Brussels.
Passport, vaccination certificate and now a social security pass?
More specifically this is the EC's pilot
project for an ESSP (European Social Security Pass) that will provide
information about a person's social security cover across borders. However,
this will soon be possible without the need for any paper documents as it will
be stored purely digitally on a person’s mobile phone.
The EC clarified that this initiative could
lead to them having to implement a digital solution in the future. The EC wants
to promote digitisation in all policy areas, especially at European level. New
ways of improving cross-border verification and proof of insurance cover will
have to be explored. The often hotly debated and controversial A1 form is to be
simplified and even completely replaced as a paper document.
..essential details in the margin
The social security pass could also
contribute to improving the social security rights of mobile citizens. However,
a large number of public administrative procedures, insofar as they are
available in analogue form, would also have to be provided online in full in
future for this purpose. Whether this will be possible within the time frame
remains to be seen.
Role of the digital gateway
The digital access gateway is expected to
be fully usable for applying for and the issuing the portable A1 document by
the end of 2023. This gateway is intended to be the possible entry point of
access for people and businesses, who will then be redirected to their national
portals, where they can apply for the document to be issued online. Online
access to information and procedures should be made easier for all member
states on equal terms (see News 06/2018).
Data protection given priority
The EC has given assurance that only the
data and information strictly needed for verifying social security cover and
rights will be processed. Data belonging to the mobile citizens involved should
only be made available to the responsible national authorities and
stakeholders. On the other hand, the exact technical features of the envisaged
solution, which will also include the use of blockchain technologies, are still
being defined and they will be tested in a pilot phase until 2023.
Relief instead of confusion
The benefit of a ESSP should be a relief
for the insured and not become an additional uncertainty in the already existing,
often cumbersome, data and application procedures for proving social security