The Council reached a political agreement on the position to be taken by the EU on provisions for the coordination of social security systems provided for by the association agreements or similar agreements between the EU and Albania, Montenegro, San Marino and Turkey. These provisions, which are to be adopted by the joint association bodies (Association Council, Stabilisation and Association Council or Cooperation Committee) with the four third countries, will give effect to the principles of limited coordination of social security systems contained in the agreements. The aim is to ensure that workers from the partner countries can receive certain social security benefits granted under the legislation of the Member State where they are working or have worked. By way of reciprocity, this also applies to EU nationals working in those countries.
In response to the misgivings of a number of Member States about the legal basis proposed for the decision regarding Turkey, the Council issued a statement making it clear that no final decision can be adopted by the EU-Turkey Association Council until the European Court of Justice has given its rulings in two cases concerning the same legal basis for similar decisions in the framework of the agreements with other third countries. Ireland and the United Kingdom made a statement on this issue, pointing out that in their opinion the legal basis chosen for Turkey only applies to workers of the Member States. Moreover, Bulgaria, while supporting the political agreement, expressed its doubts about the clause on aggregation of insurance periods concerning Turkey and made a statement on this issue. Malta abstained, indicating in a statement that it has concerns about the equal treatment clause with regard to Albania and Montenegro.
By adopting its position, the EU seeks to agree with the partner countries in particular on the export of certain specific benefits to the four partner countries as well as the granting of equal treatment to third country workers legally employed in the EU and to their family members legally residing with them in the EU. Reciprocal rights will apply to EU workers legally employed in one of the partner countries and to their family members.
These are issues not dealt with by regulation 1231/2010, which extended the EU legislation on the coordination of social security systems within the EU to nationals of third countries who were not already covered by the relevant EU provisions solely on the grounds of their nationality. The 2010 regulation includes the principle of aggregation of insurance periods acquired by third country workers in the various Member States regarding entitlement to certain benefits, as set out in the agreements. A first package of decisions with almost identical provisions, concerning six other third countries (Algeria, Croatia, Israel, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Morocco and Tunisia), was adopted by the Council in October 2010.