Coordinating national social security systems within the single market is a desireable objective. It would help reinforce the social dimension of the freedom of movement in Europe, still understood basically as an economic achievement.

From the citizens’ perspective, real freedom of movement should include portable social rights that give access to social security protection in such fields as health, unemployment benefits and education when one has moved.

There is no EU-wide social security system.

So, such access can only be achieved via the coordination of social security systems that generalises access for those transferring from one state to another.

This however cannot be achieved in double quick time or by diktat.

A wide variance exists in the social security systems run by member states, including in the contributions made by citizens, enterprises and the state; and in the range of benefits.

Open access to national security systems would create huge problems, especially for small states with a limited contributory base.

But larger states too with more robust systems could be negatively affected.

Coordination should be carried out on an incremental longterm basis.

This is far from being the approach envisaged in this report.

Which is why I voted against it.

Final vote: 345 in favour; 287 against; 24 abstentions

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