The European Single Market is one of the greatest achievements of European integration and is essential for prosperity and economic success in the EU. In this context, the free movement of workers is a high priority. In order to secure this, provisions were already made in 1959 with Regulations (EEC) Nos. 3 and 4, which were intended to guarantee social security in cross-border cases.
In 1972, this regulation was reformed for the first time with Regulations (EEC) No 1408/71 and No 547/72. Following a further reform, Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and No 987/2009 have been in force since 1 May 2010. They cover all nationals of a Member State (including family members and survivors) who are or have been subject to the legislation of one or more Member States. The material scope covers all branches of the German social security system.
Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 and the implementing Regulation No 987/2009 coordinate the various national social security systems. The existence of national social security systems remains unaffected, i.e. the organisation of the respective national system (organisation, benefits and financing) is and remains a matter for the individual Member States. In principle, Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 defines the social security legislation to which workers moving within the European Union are subject.
In contrast to this coordination of social law, harmonisation of social security cannot and must not be the aim of European social policy. A harmonisation of forms of organisation, benefits and financing arrangements would contradict the principle of subsidiarity and would also not be economically viable. Moreover, these systems are an expression of the respective social, cultural and economic circumstances of a country.