Mobile Welfare in a Transnational Europe: An Analysis of Portability Regimes of Social Security Rights
Between 1 October 2015 and 31 August 2016, the project implemented three of its five work packages. It completed the analysis of the implementation of the EU’s portability regulations for the four country pairs Bulgaria–Germany, Hungary–Austria, Estonia–Sweden and Poland–United Kingdom. This analysis indicated that state institutions continue to consider mobile ways of life to be problematic. This (implicit) view contributes to the institutional barriers to accessing and porting social security rights of mobile EU citizens between the new and the old EU member states. The policy briefs that have been prepared on the basis of this analysis are available on the TRANSWEL website, at http://www.transwel.org.
The next step was to conduct a quantitative survey among 1,400 mobile EU citizens in Germany, Austria, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The analysis provided no strong quantitative evidence of unemployment and family benefits being ported, but it showed strong quantitative evidence that in emergencies, mobile EU citizens rely on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). These results confirm our finding that state institutions install institutional barriers to restrict access to and the portability of social security rights for mobile EU citizens. In addition, our project conducted a discourse analysis of interviews with experts from the relevant new and the old EU member states, which indicated that there are differences in how the old and the new member states view intra-EU mobility. During the interviews, the experts from the new EU member states emphasized how important it is for mobile EU citizens to receive equal treatment in the field of social security.