Press releases

We need bold actions of the European institutions to tackle cross-border social security fraud and abuse


Today (13.03.2019), the European institutions are in a final sprint to reach a political deal on the revised European Regulation on social security. The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) has clearly stressed from the beginning that substantial progress on tackling cross-border social security fraud and abuse must be achieved. The current EU system makes it extremely difficult and slow for host countries to refuse falsified or abusive portable documents certifying the social security legislation.

It is of utmost importance that national authorities can rapidly discard portable A1 documents when there is reasonable doubt of fraud or abuse. The current European system of mutual trust between Member states has significant flaws and hinders swift actions to tackle fraud and abuse. For many years, we have observed that not all Member states demonstrate sufficient goodwill to tackle cross-border social security fraud and abuse. The current system, set by the European Court of Justice in the Altun case (C-359-16), allowing national Courts to disregard social security certificates issued to workers posted within the EU, remains extremely bureaucratic and ineffective. Its impact on cross-border fraud and abuse is very  limited.

The EFBWW urges the European institutions to propose ambitious and effective actions to tackle cross-border social security fraud and abuse. The solution should be a swift, non-bureaucratic and convincing system.

The EFBWW categorically rejects the idea of some European institutions that a political deal on Social Security is absolutely indispensable. Without concrete improvements to tackle cross-border social security fraud and abuse, any political deal will be considered as a setback and a missed opportunity for the EU to deliver to its citizens.


Contact: Werner Buelen, EFBWW,