Reforming the coordination law will not be finalised during this legislative period.

UM – 02/2024

Reforming the law covering how social security systems are to be coordinated - Regulation (EU) No. 883/2004 and its implementing Regulation (EU) 987/2009 - will not be completed for the time being. On 14 February, Frank Vandenbrouke, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs, made official in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) what had basically been clear since the compromise proposal failed at the end of January: The dossier will not be pursued any further by the Belgian Council Presidency. This means that the EC's proposal of 13 December 2016 to revise the coordination law was not successfully negotiated during the second legislative term either.

Over, but not finished

The Belgian Council Presidency had proposed that the remaining contentious points be negotiated separately. These relate to the mechanism for determining the social security liability of employees in other EU countries under the A1 certificate and unemployment benefits for cross-border workers. The move could not be agreed with the responsible EMPL committee. This paved the way for its termination in the current legislative period, which was already drawing to a close.

Parliament is staying on the ball

Gabriele Bischoff (S&D, DE), the rapporteur for the legislative file, said that the European Parliament would remain on the ball with regard to the Council's decision. They are still open to a compromise, whether it is during this or the next legislative period. A press release issued on the 15 February by the EMPL negotiators stated: "The Belgian Presidency's unwillingness to continue the Spanish Presidency's efforts to reach an overall compromise is disappointing". However, splitting up the issues is unacceptable. Only finalising parts of the reform would mean abandoning key points of its position indefinitely. They are in favour of a balanced package. Moreover, Parliament would not be held hostage just because the member states are encountering difficulties in finding a common position.

What's next?

In fact, a provisional agreement between the Parliament and the Council was reached twice in the past - in spring 2019 and December 2021. The compromise was rejected by the member states on both occasions. The dossier will probably be taken up again during the next legislative term. Whether Gabriele Bischoff will still hold the negotiating reins on the parliamentary side then is uncertain, but likely. . Given her position as number one on the SPD's Berlin state list for the European elections, she stands a very good chance of entering the newly appointed parliament on 1 July. There is much to suggest that she will bring her expertise in coordination law to bear when the responsibilities for legislative procedures are redistributed.