Since it was established in 1990, the Mutual Information System on Social Protection/Social Security (MISSOC, www.missoc.org) has grown into a central information base for up-to-date, comprehensive and comparable data on social protection systems in all EU Member States, the three countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. MISSOC is based on a close cooperation between the European Commission (EC DG EMPL, unit D/3), a network of representatives from the national competent authorities (the “National Correspondents”) and a secretariat appointed by the Commission.
The MISSOC information base is entirely electronic and available free of charge. Its target groups include researchers, civil servants, policy-makers, organisations advising on mobility issues, citizens moving within Europe etc. As it supplies the source information needed to apply the EU coordination rules, MISSOC is of particular interest to those involved in EU social security coordination.
Among the main MISSOC outputs is the Comparative Tables database, which contains detailed information on 12 main social protection areas in 31 countries, presented in the form of comparative tables: financing, healthcare, sickness, maternity-paternity, invalidity, old-age, survivorship, accidents at work and occupational diseases, family, unemployment, guaranteed minimum resources and long-term care. The Tables database is complemented with separate, country-specific information on the organisation of social protection (charts and descriptions) and on the social protection arrangements for self-employed persons. The aforementioned information is available in English, French and German, and is updated twice a year. The information currently available is updated to reflect the situation on July 2012. The update for January 2013 will become available by the end of June 2013.
The Social Security Guide is a recent MISSOC product, first produced in 2010 on the basis of the existing guides “Your social security rights when moving in the EU”. The Social Security Guides are aimed at explaining the national social protection systems in an accessible language to a broad audience, particularly citizens moving within Europe. The Guides are complementary to the more detailed information in the Comparative Tables, and follow a common structure. They are updated once a year. The 2012 edition is available in English, French and German on the MISSOC website. A translation of the Guides in 21 other EU/EEA languages can be downloaded from the European Commission website.
Another significant MISSOC product is the MISSOC Analysis. Drafted by the MISSOC Secretariat’s academic experts, the MISSOC Analysis reports intend to provide a legal-analytical overview of significant developments on selected topics of social protection. The reports are based on information in the MISSOC Tables, next to other sources. Since 2012, the MISSOC Analysis is published in principle on a bi-annual basis. The latest issue is dedicated to an analysis of gender differences in social protection. The next issue, which will be available by summer 2013, will deal with a detailed description and evolution of means testing in Europe.
If you want to stay informed of MISSOC news and social protection developments in Europe, you can subscribe to the MISSOC E-newsletter, which is circulated twice a year (past issues can be consulted here).