Protocol 3 of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement is a crucial document outlining the rules for the coordination of social security systems between the European Union (EU) member states and the EEA countries. The protocol aims to ensure that the citizens of the EEA countries enjoy equal treatment in social security matters, regardless of whether they are nationals of the EEA country in which they reside.
The EEA Agreement is a treaty between the EU and three EEA countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. It allows these three non-EU countries to participate in the EU`s single market, which means that they follow most of the EU`s rules and regulations, including those related to the free movement of goods, services, and people.
Protocol 3 of the EEA Agreement was signed on 13 December 1991 and came into effect on 1 January 1994. The protocol covers a wide range of social security issues, including sickness and maternity benefits, unemployment benefits, old-age pensions, and survivors` benefits. The objective of this protocol is to ensure that EEA citizens are not discriminated against and that their social security rights are protected when they move to another EEA country.
The protocol provides comprehensive rules for the coordination of social security systems between the EU and EEA countries. These rules include:
• Equal treatment: EEA nationals are entitled to the same social security benefits as nationals of the country where they reside. They are not allowed to be discriminated against based on nationality.
• Aggregation of periods: The periods of social security contributions and residence in one or more EEA countries are considered together when determining entitlement to benefits.
• Exportability of benefits: EEA nationals are entitled to receive their social security benefits in any EEA country they choose to reside in.
• Coordination of medical care: EEA nationals are entitled to necessary medical care in any EEA country they reside in, provided they have a valid European Health Insurance Card.
The protocol also includes provisions for the coordination of social security benefits for frontier workers, who are individuals who work in one EEA country but reside in another. These provisions ensure that frontier workers are entitled to social security benefits in both the country where they work and the country where they reside.
In conclusion, Protocol 3 of the EEA Agreement is an essential document that guarantees equal treatment and social security rights for citizens of EU member states and EEA countries. It provides a comprehensive set of rules for the coordination of social security systems, ensuring that EEA nationals can enjoy their rights when moving within the EEA area.