During the Employment Council in Luxemburg on 8th/9th June 2009, the ministers of the 27 Member States were not able to agree that the different social security systems would apply to third country nationals, who are regularly staying within the EU and who are in a cross-border situation (for example: an employee works in Austria and his children study in France. Many of the exception clauses, which were introduced at the last minute, are partly responsible for the fact that the ministers failed in reaching a unanimous decision.
Czech Presidency fails with mediation attempt
The Czech Presidency had made it its goal to reach an agreement for this dossier. However, there were open questions right to the end, which could have been solved by the Council. Both Austria and Germany demanded exceptions with regard to family benefits for certain categories of third country nationals. Both countries claimed that it would be a matter for the individual Member States to determine the conditions to be fulfilled for being connected to a system of social security and the right to social benefits within the scope of their legal system and to assess the situation of the person affected. They emphasised that under no circumstances they would accept retrograde steps compared to the current situation in accordance with the existing regulation. The Czech Presidency wanted to accommodate the request and suggested a compromise, which, however, did not meet the approval of all Member States.

No right to have pensions transferred to Non-Member States
Another problem was whether an auto¬matic right existed for third country nationals to have their invalidity, old age or dependent’s pensions transferred to their country of residence, even if this country is outside the EU. This could in some cases result in a more favourable treatment of third country nationals than of Member State’s own citizens or other EU residents. This in turn would represent interference with the jurisdiction of Member States and an infringement against the subsidiarity principle. The expert opinion of the Council’s legal department clearly determined that no new rights will be created for third country nationals with respect of having their pensions transferred to Non-Member States. This point, however, also remained unsolved.

Negotiations will be continued
In spite of the efforts made by the Czech Presidency to finalise the Dossier at the Employment Council in Luxembourg, the proposal failed. As a result, the negotiations of the Member States will have to continue until a mutual agreement has been reached.

Further information:

Press Release of the Employment Council (8th/9th June 2009 in Luxembourg)