Coordination of the EU/EFTA area

The Agreement with the EU on the free movement of persons (ALCP) came into force on 1st June 2002. It includes provisions aiming at coordinating the social security systems between Switzerland and the EU Member States.

The ALCP applies to Swiss nationals and to the citizens of the EU Member countries. As the renewal of this agreement is not automatic, the ALCP has known two legal adaptations resulting in the 2004 and 2007 EU enlargements, which came into force in 2007 and 2009.

With the entry into force of the revised annex II to the Agreement on the free movement of persons (ALPC) from 1st April 2012, the new EU Regulations No 883/2004 and 987/2009 is applicable in the relations between Switzerland and the EU-States. These regulations replace regulations No 1408/71 and 574/72.

The Convention establishing the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) of 21st June 2001 includes similar coordination principles as the ALPC and applies to nationals of the four following States ; Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. This text came into force on 1st June 2002.

Insofar as the EFTA Convention does not specifically provide any other Regulations, the EU Regulations No 883/2004 and 987/2009, which replace the (CE) Regulations No 1408/71 and 574/72 are fully applicable since 1st January 2016.

The same Coordination Rules (EC Regulations n° 883/2004 and 987/2009) are applicable between Switzerland and the EU State Members as between Switzerland and the EFTA State Members.

Nevertheless, the EC Regulations n° 883/2004 and 987/2009 are not applied in the cases where there is a simultaneous relationship between Switzerland, the EU and the EFTA, as there is no “frame-work” agreement.

The ALCP and the EFTA Convention are not linked between them and their field of application is limited to each individual agreement between the Contracting States’ Members.


Equal treatment

The coordination regulations are designed to simplify the task of migrant workers and their family members when claiming for benefits. The EU Members States and the EFTA Members States ought to respectively treat nationals from other States Members in equal manner as their own nationals. The principle of equal treatment under the Regulation 883/2004 also applies to all persons who fall within the scope of the said Regulation and who do not reside in an EU Member State. Persons who worked or lived in more than one concerned State can find out about their rights and the allocation mode from the competent social security bodies in their country of residence.

Last modification 30.08.2017

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