Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Frequently asked questions - Need help

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National resources

Each of the 31 countries that apply EU coordination rules has a special liaison body with specific experience in dealing with cross-border social security matters. This institution has an important role in responding to requests for information and assistance on behalf of citizens, but also other national institutions that need advice.

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As EU law only coordinates national social security systems, the assessment of your situation will always depend on the national legal provisions which apply to your case. National authorities are therefore often in a better position to provide you with advice and information as they are familiar both with EU rules and their internal set of laws.

>> Use our directory to find a contact institution

European resources

There is no possibility for you to bring your case directly to the Court of Justice. The national court dealing with your case may ask the Court for a "preliminary ruling" to know how a specific provision of the EU rules should be interpreted, if the decision in your case depends on this interpretation. This interpretation is binding.

Every national court may refer to the Court, even at first instance. If no further appeal is possible against its decision, it is obliged to apply for a preliminary ruling. You can always suggest that the judge in your case should consult the Court, but, in many cases, the existing Court case-law is sufficiently clear to allow a decision to be made on your case.

The European Commission may refer a matter to the Court of Justice when it considers that provisions of national laws and regulations are incompatible with EU rules (the so-called ‘infringement procedure’).

The EU provides several information and problem-solving tools to help citizens find solutions and enforce their rights. Furthermore, if you consider that the legislation or administrative practices in a country conflict with the EU rules, you can write a complaint to the European Commission.

The European Commission may decide to take an action against this country for non-compliance in order to bring the infringement to an end. If necessary, it may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union by undertaking an infringement procedure. To start this procedure, neither the exhaustion of all national remedies and appeals, nor the existence of a concrete individual case are required.

However, the procedure is time-consuming, and, out of more than 600 judgments of the Court, only a few are the result of an infringement procedure. More than 90 % of the judgments have been delivered following requests for preliminary rulings presented by national courts.

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