Podgorica, 15 May 2018 – Employees in Montenegrin institutions will learn how to guarantee the rights of Montenegrin workers, as well as those of EU citizens, who work in one of the countries of the European Union, although they were not born there, from their colleagues from Bulgaria and Croatia through the project “Towards EU Rules on Coordination of Social Security Schemes”. The project was presented in the EU Info Centre.

The project is being funded by the EU and is worth almost €400,000. The aim is to ensure the effective implementation of the social security system by strengthening the administrative capacities of the Montenegrin authorities and institutions. The overall goal is to make sure that the relevant acquis functions in the area of the free movement of workers after Montenegro’s accession to the European Union.

“Participation in the coordination of social security schemes, apart from strict application of the rules and the establishment of adaptable structures for efficient implementation, involves the training and education of officials in order to set up and adequately monitor the functioning of the system,” said the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Kemal Purisic, at the opening ceremony.

The EU rules on coordination include all aspects of social security: pensions and invalidity insurance, health and unemployment insurance and family benefits.

“There is a lot still to be done with respect to becoming EU-ready, but help is also being provided from the European side. To support the government in its efforts to prepare for free movement, the EU has brought in experts from Bulgaria and Croatia. They will provide technical assistance to improve the institutional and administrative capacities of the competent authorities in Montenegro in order to effectively coordinate social security schemes upon EU accession,” said Hermann Spitz, the Head of the Cooperation Section in the Delegation of EU to Montenegro.

One of the objectives of the project is to promote the free movement of workers, which is one of the four most important freedoms within the EU, and is an initiative to encourage the Montenegrin system prepare for the future coordination of social security schemes.

“It is planned to introduce the European Health Card, which, in addition to the social security schemes, is an important issue from Chapter 2: Freedom of Movement for Workers. This project will make available support for a feasibility study on the impact on finances of introducing this card,” said Ljiljana Simović, the main negotiator for Chapter 2.

The main beneficiary of the project is the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and the other beneficiaries are: the Ministry of Health, the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund, the Health Insurance Fund, the Employment Agency of Montenegro and the Centres for Social Work.