The social security data exchange software service will be maintained until mid-2022.

UM – 12/2021

At the beginning of December the EC announced that it would continue to provide and maintain the RINA software beyond the end of the year. It intends to provide limited capacity for this. Initially, the service was to be discontinued in July, then at the end of December 2021 (see also DSV NEWS 1.2021). It took intensive talks, parliamentary referral to the Labour and Social Affairs Committee and, finally, discussion in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) to persuade the EC to relent.

This postponement is necessary

Since last year, German Social Insurance has been campaigning intensively for RINA to be extended via ESIP, its European platform. As recently as October, ESIP was able to take advantage of an invitation from the Committee on Labour, Social Affairs and Integration to once again issue a strong warning about the consequences of withdrawing from RINA at this stage. As long as national organisations are still using RINA to implement the EESSI (Electronic Exchange of Social Insurance Data) project, they are bound to rely on its maintenance and regular updates. Naturally, they also know that this Commission service is finite. Their decision to extend the service by about half a year is a concession in this respect.

RINA to be placed in new hands in mid-2022

However, part of the truth is that the Commission seriously underestimated the effort and time needed to implement EESSI. With the focus on EESSI implementation, one or two social insurers might have held on to RINA for a little too long. Delays were also encountered when preparing the call for tenders for the search for a provider to take over the Commission's tasks for RINA users and to maintain and further develop the national applications in the future. The optimistic assumption is that a suitable contractual partner will be found by the middle of next year.  

EESSI must run smoothly

However, the limited extension of support by the Commission is not "business as usual".  Support is limited to the core components of EESSI to avoid blocking key processes or causing critical incidents that would negatively impact the entire EESSI ecosystem. The support is primarily aimed at those countries that still use RINA. But everyone benefits from using it. If the exchange within the EESSI system is disrupted, then this will affect all 32 participating countries.

Goodbye paper

Implementing EESSI is well advanced. The German Social Insurance system is expected to be able to handle all planned cross-border communications and exchange processes electronically during the coming year. RINA will no longer be used. As countries make progress in implementing EESSI, they will also be able to say goodbye to increasingly expensive paper-based communications.