Free movement of people constitutes one of the fundamental freedoms on the internal market, which comprises an area without internal frontiers, in which freedom is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty.
According to Art. 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, every citizen has the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in the Treaties and to the measures adopted for their implementation.
Right of movement and residence
The conditions governing the exercise of the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States are set out in Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, adopted in April 2004.
Under the provisions of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and the Council, all citizens have the right to enter another Member State with their identity card or a valid passport, as for stays of less than three months they do not need any other documents (visas, work permits or other special documents/permits are not necessary).
The Directive applies only to EU citizens who move to or reside in a Member State other than that of which they are citizens, and to members of their families who accompany or join them. The right to stay longer than three months is subject to certain conditions and obtaining a residence permit from the competent authorities of the host Member State. Such right is given to persons who are engaged in some economic activity (employees and self-employed), students and other individuals who can prove that they have sufficient resources and health insurance to guarantee that during their stay they will not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State. These requirements also apply to family members of EU citizens.
For more information: http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/index_en.htm
Free movement of workers
Free movement of workers is one of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The provisions of the TFEU require Member States to abolish any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States regarding employment, remuneration and other working conditions. Free movement of workers includes, subject to limitations justified on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health, also the rights:
а) to accept actually made proposals for employment;
б) to move freely within the territory of Member States for this purpose;
в) to stay in a Member State for the purpose of employment in accordance with the provisions governing the employment of citizens of that State laid down by law, regulatory or administrative provisions;
г) to remain on the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that State, subject to conditions which shall be embodied in regulations drawn up by the Commission.
The principle of free movement of workers enshrined in the TFEU is further developed in EU secondary legislation, particularly in:
Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1612/68 from October 15th, 1968 on freedom of movement of workers within the Community
Council Regulation (EEC) No. 492/2011 from April 5th, 2011 on freedom of movement of workers within the Union
From 1 January 2014 was eliminated the pre-existing restrictions on access of citizens of Bulgaria and Romania to the labor markets of several EU countries. Bulgarian and Romanian citizens are now free to exercise their right to work in all EU country without a work permit.
For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/social/home.jsp?langId=en
Posting of workers
Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council from December 16th, 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services.
This Directive applies to enterprises that post workers on the territory of a Member State within the framework of the transnational provision of services, provided there is an employment relationship between the enterprise and the worker during the period of posting:
- on its own account and under their direction, under a contract concluded between the commissioning enterprise and the party for whom the services are intended;
- in an organization or enterprise owned by the group;
- as an enterprise for a temporary job of a user enterprise.
For the purposes of this Directive, "posting worker" means a worker who, for a limited period of time, carries out his work on the territory of a Member State other than that in which they normally work. The definition of a worker is contained in the law of the Member State to which the worker has been posted.
In Bulgaria, the provisions of Directive 96/71/EC are introduced by the Labour Code, Health and Safaty at Work Act, Employment Promotion Act, and the Regulation on conditions and procedures for the posting of workers or employees from Member States or workers or employees from third countries to the Republic of Bulgaria in the framework of the provision of services.
Control over the observance of labour legislation, including the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services, is provided by the General Labour Inspectorate Executive Agency.
Social security systems
The need for coordination of social security systems of the Member States is regulated in Art. 48 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which requires the European Parliament to take such measures in the field of social security as are necessary to ensure the free movement of workers.
From May 1st, 2010, the following provisions are applicable:
Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council from April 29th, 2004 on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation (EC) No. 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council from September 16th, 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems.
As of the same date, Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1408/71 from June 14th, 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons and their families moving within the Community and Regulation 574/72 for its implementations have been repealed. These regulations have been repealed for EU citizens but continue to apply to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Regulation No. 883/2004 provides for the introduction of the principle of equal treatment, according to which the persons subject to the regulations receive the same benefits and have the same obligations under the legislation of any Member State as its citizens have. The provisions of the Regulation shall apply to all legislation concerning the following branches of social security:
- sickness compensations;
- maternity benefits and corresponding benefits for raising a small child by the father;
- disability compensations;
- age benefits;
- survivors' benefits;
- compensations for occupational accidents and diseases;
- death grants;
- unemployment compensations;
- pre-retirement benefits;
- family benefits.
It is important to bear in mind that the rules on coordination of social security systems do not replace national systems with a single European system. All countries are free to decide who should be provided under their legislation, what benefits are granted and under what conditions. EU lays down general rules for the protection of a person's social security rights when they go from one European country to another.
From June 28th, 2012, Regulation (EC) No. 465/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council from May 22nd, 2012 is amending Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 and Regulation (EC) No. 987/2009. This Regulation aims to reflect legislative changes in some of the Member States relating to social security systems, thus ensuring legal certainty for the interested parties.
One can find their retirement rights, unemployment compensations, family benefits and other social security rights in a particular country HERE.
For more information: