The European Commission
published a Communication on digitisation of the coordination of social security systems on 6 September.
It outlines the European policies and processes that provide the framework for
these initiatives. Furthermore, the progress already made in digitisation in
the field of social security coordination is presented and future measures are
With this overview, the European Commission
is responding to the frequently voiced criticism that it is becoming
increasingly difficult to locate the digitisation processes in the area of
social security within the framework of the many digitisation initiatives at
Framework for diverse initiatives
The objectives agreed in the European
Digital Decade form the framework for these initiatives, while the European
Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles forms the framework for the initiatives
launched in the area of social security.
European initiatives for the digitisation of public administration
The Communication lists the cross-sectoral
EU initiatives that aim to digitise public administration. These initiatives
lay down the regulation
for a Single Digital Gateway. In it, it was agreed at European level to
make 21 public administration processes fully digitally accessible. The pension application procedure, information on acquired
pension rights and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are relevant for
the social security system. In addition, as one of the first projects, the
application, issue and verification of the portable A1 document for proof of
social insurance in the country of origin is to be implemented completely
digitally throughout Europe. For these processes, a uniform digital access
gateway, the Once
Only Technical System, is being developed at European level to enable
automatic interstate exchange of documents and information.
Digital Identity framework aims to provide citizens and businesses with an
electronic proof of identity in the form of a digital wallet (EUID) that allows
them to identify themselves digitally.
The Commission's Interoperable
Europe Act proposal aims to create a framework for
cooperation between public administrations across the EU and to help ensure
that secure cross-border data exchange is always included in digitisation
processes in national administrations.
EESSI and ESSPASS
The listed cross-sectoral initiatives form
the basis for the introduction of a European Social
Security Pass (ESSPASS). The latter initiative pursues the goal that insured
persons will also be able to prove their insurance status digitally in the
future. This proof is to be provided by means of the ESSPASS. In accordance
with the regulation for a Single
Digital Gateway, all applications in
the ESSPASS are to be oriented towards the insured persons. These are to have
access to social security documents and information by means of a single access
point, the EUID wallet.
Experience to date
The European Commission sees the responsibility
for the slower than originally planned implementation of the Electronic
Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI) with the Member States and
criticises their partial unwillingness to invest more. The communication does
not mention other lessons learned from this process, such as having involved
the social security institutions too late. However, this is not the case in the
practical proposals made by the European Commission. Thus, the earliest
possible involvement of all stakeholders in the two pilot projects on the
ESSPASS is desired. Social security institutions that have not participated so
far are invited to join the consortia even though the application deadline
ended last year.
The European Commission announces that it
will involve the European Labour Authority (ELA) more. This is intended to
collect examples of successfully implemented digitisation procedures in the
area of social security coordination by 2024, as well as to facilitate regular
exchange between social security institutions via special workshops.