The European Commission is considering the shape of a future European Labour Authority and European Social Security Number and on 27 November it launched a public consultation across all relevant stakeholders including the social partners.

In mid-September, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a commitment concerning worker mobility being fairly, simply and efficiently implemented. Currently some 16 million Europeans live or work in a EU Member state that is not their home nation, whilst every day 1.7 million workers cross the EU’s borders for professional and personal reasons.

European Labour Authority. The EU Commission particularly intends to establish a European Labour Authority, along the lines of the Banking Authority. However before submitting a legislative proposal, the EU Commission intends to gather opinion from all relevant stakeholders on the scope for such a Labour Authority. Included in its suggestions for scope is support for information exchange, streamlining administrative practices, analytics support, joint labour inspectorate coordination, and dispute resolution.The EU Commission is also examining the relationship that the new authority could establish with currently existing structures including Eurofound (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) and the EU-OSHA (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work).

Social security number. In parallel with the European Labour Authority the EU Commission intends to establish a European Social Security Number (ESSN) as a way to simplify and modernize interaction between the EU’s citizens and its administrative bodies across various policy areas. The EU Commission believes, “An EU Social Security Number would facilitate the identification of persons across borders for the purposes of social security coordination and allow the quick and accurate verification of their social security insurance status. It would facilitate administrative procedures for citizens by optimizing the use of digital tools.”

This public consultation will ask stakeholders about the format such a number would take (as a prefix to exiting numbers or as a parallel number), as well as the potential beneficiaries of such a number (all citizens, only those just recently born, or only ultra-mobile workers) The EU Commission is also consulting over who should receive priority cover and has included in its suggestions those requiring urgent health care provision, those posted workers requiring proof of cover (Form A1 type workers), those in receipt of illness, maternity or paternity benefits, old-age pensions, early-retirement pensions and invalidity pensions, survivors benefits and those receiving death benefits, those on unemployment benefits, family support benefits as well as those having undergone workplace accidents and occupational illness.

This public consultation will run until 07 January 2018 the results of which are expected to contribute to legislative proposals for both initiatives being submitted in the spring of 2018.