Contigency measures in the field of social security

The prospect of a withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without an agreement raises major issues by putting an abrupt end to the freedom of movement of persons and the application of social security coordination rules.

This potential scenario risks creating a loss of entitlements and rights for insured persons. This is true for benefits such as old-age pensions where insured persons contribute over extended periods of time and are guaranteed an income after retirement, as well as healthcare or long-term care insurance that require the recognition of previous insurance periods. In addition, managing the consequences of a withdrawal of the United Kingdom without an agreement will put both an administrative and financial burden on national social security institutions.

Therefore, ESIP welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on establishing contingency measures in the field of social security coordination following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union. ESIP supports the guarantee of key principles of social security coordination for EU citizens and persons under the legislation of a Member State who have been in a situation involving the United Kingdom, as well as UK nationals who have been subject to the legislation of one or more Member States. This Regulation should be accompanied by measures agreed between the EU27 and the United Kingdom on the technical implementation of the Regulation, e.g. regarding the forms to be used.

It should be noted that social security systems across the European Union have specificities linked to their national context. This means that sufficient leeway should be given to Member States to adopt additional measures for exchange of information and cooperation

As the European Union proposes to take a generous approach to ensure the continuity of rights acquired prior to the UK’s withdrawal, ESIP is hoping that sufficient guarantees will be provided to ensure a similar level of protection is granted to insured persons who have acquired rights in the United Kingdom.

Find out more in our statement and survey of national contingency measures.