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Digitisation of social security coordination

Milestone in the pilot project: European Social Security Pass

LB – 08/2022

Citizens of the European Union (EU) are entitled to social benefits regardless of their place of residence within the EU. These are coordinated between the Member States and their social security systems by means of regulations under European law. Digital exchange of the information required for this should be possible in the foreseeable future. One instrument for this is the Euro­pean Social Secu­rity Pass (ESS­PASS), the implementation of which is currently being tested in a pilot project.

Digital transformation in public administration

Shaping Europe's digital future is one of EU's top priorities. The digital sovereignty of the EU is to be expanded as part of a digital strategy. The digital transformation should take place in line with European values and basic human rights.

Data is at the heart of the digital transformation. Not only is their volume growing, their uses are also evolving. Therein lies the great opportunity for more effective and efficient processes, for instance in public administration. The digitisation of public services is one of the four key target areas of the policy programme Europe’s Digital Decade 2030.

Coordination of the European social security systems

EU rules on the coordination of social security systems call on Member States to use digital technologies to exchange and process data among themselves. For this purpose, a system for the European Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI) has been introduced. It enables European social security agencies to exchange information quickly, securely and without errors.

EU citizens should also benefit from the advantages of digitisation, especially in cross-border activities. In short, all important administrative services should be available online for them in the future. To this end, the European Commission has developed, among other things, a European Digital Identity (EUid).

Pilot project: digital European Social Security Pass

A pilot project was also launched in March 2021 to test the feasibility of introducing a ESSPASS by 2023. Germany is also involved in the project. The initial focus is on the electronic A1 document, which employees use to prove that they are covered by social insurance via their home country when travelling on business in other European countries.

Core specifications: Security and privacy

Security and privacy are a key concern when it comes to the ESSPASS. EU data protection and security rules should also apply to all data processing activities here, and citizens should retain control. The aim of the current pilot project is to develop suitable solutions for this that are also technically feasible (feasibility test). A European blockchain infrastructure is to be used for this purpose. "Real" personal data has not yet been exchanged.

Next milestone – ESSPASS

Initial results of the ESSPASS pilot project on digitisation, using the A1 document as an example, are expected later this year. Based on these, the continuation of the digitisation of the European Health Insurance Card is planned until 2023. In future, it should be possible to request proof and certificates relating to social security completely online and to check them for validity and authenticity. An overview of the pilot project can be found in a recent information sheet.