The European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) approved the outcome of the negotiations in Council on the changes to be made to Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009, which coordinate the social security systems. Indeed, on 1 March, MEPs backed the provision on unemployment benefits for self-employed workers, as well as provisions for crew, which has been the subject of a general orientation at the Council in December 2011.

"This legislation has been discussed for more than one year in Council. The European Parliament approves the amendments [of the Council] since they improve to overall protection of EU citizens and workers," said rapporteur Milan Cabrnoch (ECR, Czech Republic), who has been part of negotiation procedures in Council from the start. This compromise aims in particular to better protect workers, such as the Belgian crew of the low-cost airline Ryanair who are subject to Irish labour law (see box).

Regulation 987/2009, which sets the terms of application of Regulation 883/2004, broadens the field of application of the coordination of the social security systems to those who are unemployed, do not yet work, or no longer work; it also introduces new benefits, such as paternity and early retirement benefits. In December 2010, the European Commission presented a proposal to update the legal framework in order to take into account the evolution of national legislations and the changes in the social context.

The Parliament approved the position of the Council, which concerns two very controversial points: the situation of crew, and the unemployment of the self-employed. On the one hand, MEPs have...

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