Research Handbook on European Social Security Law
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Research Handbook on European Social Security Law

Edited by Frans Pennings and Gijsbert Vonk

This Handbook encompasses four dimensions of European social security law: social security as a human right, standard setting in social security, the protection of mobile persons and migrants and the global context of European social security law. It pays attention to both EU law and to various instruments of the Council of Europe. In 25 chapters prominent experts analyse contemporary debates, discuss new challenges and point out further lines of research. Through this exploration, the Handbook provides a source of inspiration for the development of this special field of law.
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Chapter 13: Principles of EU coordination of social security

Frans Pennings


In the case law of the Court of Justice and publications on EU coordination of social security the word principle is often used. Also EC Coordination Regulation 883/2004 refers to principles in the preamble or its articles. The principles were often derived from the case law of the Court; by inserting them in the Regulation their status is confirmed. Although this may at first sight seem to make it easy to write on principles in European social security law, that is not necessarily the case. As a result of the abundant use of the term, the question arises what the value is of these principles, how they relate to each other, and how they can be ordered. Therefore the precise meaning and function of the principles underlying coordination of social security in the EU deserve further analysis. I will first discuss the concept of coordination (Section II), since this is very relevant to the principles for coordination. In Section III, I will describe the main principles that are often mentioned in EU coordination law and, in particular, how these have been used and interpreted within the EU framework, how exceptions to these principles are made and accounted for. I will also mention possible alternatives for the principles chosen and discuss these. In Section IV, I will draw my conclusions on the status of the principles and the special characteristics of EU coordination law that can be derived from these principles.

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