EXTENDING ACQUIRED SOCIAL SECURITY RIGHTS
TO THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS
Draft Council Regulation extending the provisions of Regulation (EEC) No. 1408/71 to nationals of third countries who are not already covered by these provisions solely on the ground of their nationality.
|Legal base:||Article 63(4) EC; consultation; unanimity
|Document originated:||6 February 2002
|Forwarded to the Council:
||6 February 2002|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||22 February 2002|
|Department:||Work and Pensions
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 8 March 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see (18743) 13485/97: HC 23-iv (1999-2000), paragraph 2 (15 December 1999)
|To be discussed in Council:
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||Not cleared; further information requested
9.1 Regulation (EEC) No.1408/71 co-ordinates the operation
of Member States' social security schemes so as to provide protection
of rights to social security (including health care) when persons
covered by the Regulation move from one Member State to another.
It is a detailed piece of legislation which has been the subject
of regular interpretation by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
It currently applies to Community nationals, refugees, stateless
persons and third-country nationals who are family members of
9.2 The Commission first put forward a proposal to simplify
and modernise the Regulation in January 1999.
The previous Committee considered it twice, and has been kept
informed of developments through a series of progress reports.
The work is on-going, but slow, since the whole Regulation is
being re-examined. The Barcelona European Council called for the
new Regulation to be ready for adoption before the end of 2003.
9.3 The Commission first proposed an extension of the
Regulation to cover third-country nationals in November 1997.
It originally cited Article 43 EC a legal base to which
the UK was strongly opposed. The previous Committee questioned
the Government on a number of occasions about its opposition to
the legal base.
9.4 As the legal base of the current proposal falls within
Title IV of the EC Treaty (Visas, asylum, immigration and other
policies related to the free movement of persons), the UK
has three months from the formal publication of the proposal in
which to decide whether to opt in to the measure (in accordance
with the provisions in the Protocol on the position of the United
Kingdom and Ireland now annexed to the EC Treaty and the Treaty
of European Union).
9.5 The document simply extends all the current provisions
of the Regulation to legally resident nationals of third countries
who are not already covered. It applies only to those who have
moved between Member States, not to those who enter the EU and
stay in one Member State.
The Government's view
9.6 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the
Department of Work and Pensions (Maria Eagle) tells us that the
Government considers the new legal base to be appropriate. She
explains that negotiations are about to start, and the Government
is currently preparing its position both on participation, and
on the content of the proposal.
9.7 The Minister also tells us that, although the proposal
would have no impact on business costs and jobs, there would be
operational and programme costs for the Government, estimated
at about £13.5m annually.
9.8 Finally, the Minister reports that the Presidency
hopes that the proposal will be agreed at the Employment and Social
Policy Council in June.
9.9 In previous Explanatory Memoranda on earlier versions
of this proposal, the focus was always on the unacceptability
of the legal base. Now that a new legal base is proposed, we look
forward to learning more about the Government's view of the proposal
9.10 We therefore ask that, once the Government has
prepared its position, the Minister report it to us fully. As
part of that report, we ask to know the Government's decision
about whether to participate in the measure, and the reasons for
that decision. We also ask the Minister to confirm that the present
proposal carries no threat to the UK's border controls.
9.11 We shall keep the document under scrutiny until
we have the Minister's response.
5133/99; see HC 34-xi (1998-99), paragraph 2 (24 February 1999). Back
13485/97; see headnote to this paragraph. Back