Question for written answer E-001397/2021
to the Commission
Dan-Ştefan Motreanu (PPE)
Subject: Cross-border pension delays
Cross-border pension decisions take between one and two years, sometimes even three years, with several thousand applications currently awaiting resolution. This depends on how quickly information is exchanged, through standard forms on the length of service, between the countries employing that person.
Pension institutions delay issuing pension decisions on the grounds that their counterparts in the other Member States do not send the information needed to establish their entitlements. Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 does not include a uniform time limit for Member States to provide the requested information. Competent institutions should reply to claimants within the time limit laid down in national legislation, where such time limits exist. As each Member State has a different time limit, cross-border pension applications are settled differently (or are never settled) depending on the Member States involved. Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems requires a ‘reasonable period’ for the institutions to provide the necessary information to claimants.
- How is the Commission acting to speed up the resolution of international pension applications?
- Could a common time limit, for example six months, streamline the exchange of information between the relevant pension institutions?
Answer given by Mr Schmit
on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission is aware of delays in the settlement of cross-border pension applications and has raised this issue with some Member States on a bilateral basis. As the Honourable Member has outlined in the question, Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 does not provide for specific deadlines for the treatment of pensions by national authorities. Under its Article 76(4), the institutions, in accordance with the principle of good administration, shall respond to all queries within a reasonable period of time.However, Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 provides that if a person is eligible for a benefit and the competent institution does not have all the information concerning the situation in another Member State necessary to calculate the amount, the institution shall, on request of the person concerned, award this benefit on a provisional basis, if possible. The benefit is recalculated once all the necessary documents are provided. The Commission takes the opportunity to stress that the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information system (EESSI) allows faster and efficient exchanges between social security institutions. Exchange of information on pension cases is carried out through EESSI by 23 countries. Regarding a common time limit for settlement of pension claims, it is to be borne in mind that the time necessary for the provision of information depends on the complexity of the claim and on the number of countries involved in the procedure.In case of difficulties encountered by individuals, the insured person may use the SOLVIT network, which is an EU network of national administrations that tries to resolve cross-border problems related to the EU’s single market without recourse to legal proceedings and free of charge.
 Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=celex%3A32009R0987).
 Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A02004R0883-20140101).
 Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems, OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 1–123
 Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems, OJ L 284, 30.10.2009, p. 1–42
 Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information, used by 32 countries (EU27 plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom)