Since 1959, a help-desk in France for international mobility and social security: the CLEISS (Centre of European and International Liaisons for Social Security).
To facilitate the ever-increasing movement of people between countries, France and Europe have an international legal framework which ensures efficient coordination of national social security systems for persons moving outside national boundaries. The framework comprises European Regulations No 1408/71 and No 574/72, the new Regulations No 883/2004 and No 987/2009 and 35 bilateral agreements signed by France and most of the main non-European partners in the Mediterranean Basin, Maghreb, French-speaking Africa, America and the Far East, as well as four Coordination Decrees with New Caledonia, Mayotte, French Polynesia and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.
For persons living or residing outside the country which habitually provides their social security cover, these legislative texts enable: the exemption from residence conditions and waiting period requirements for those entitled to benefits; the totalization of acquired rights taking into consideration all working periods performed in the States concerned when retirement or survivor’s pension is to be paid; the exportation of pensions; and, as required and under certain conditions, the continuing applicability of the sending country’s labour laws for those posted to the territory of another contracting State.
A wide range of persons from the European Economic Area, Switzerland and the French overseas territories benefit from these rights: students, working and non-working persons and dependants, who reap the benefit of better protection than that which is generally provided for in bilateral agreements (which usually concern only citizens from the States concerned who are working or have worked in those States).
The Cleiss is the French hub organisation involved in implementing these agreements on behalf of public authorities and social security organisations, with respect to all risks and social security schemes. Thus:
• it provides the French Government with its expertise for the negotiation and implementation of international agreements and European regulations on social security and helps make such legislation accessible to individuals and companies.
• It is the relevant body for the examination of all exemption agreements or exceptional agreements for workers posted abroad.
• It acts as an intermediary between French and foreign social security institutions and between those institutions and individuals and companies, providing administrative assistance to resolve financial or legal problems.
• It provides these institutions help with recovery and settlement of claims and debts related to health care expenses, bringing in some €150 million to €250 million each year to France’s public and social security coffers.
• It meets the translation needs of French social security institutions; in this respect it is France’s premier public translator, 50,000 pages a year being translated on average from 26 languages.
• It issues an annual statistical report showing human and financial flows between States in the context of international social security coordination.
The Cleiss (Centre of European and International Liaisons for Social Security) acts as a liaison body between the French social security institutions and their foreign counterparts by implementing Community Regulations and bilateral or multilateral social security agreements. It is a French public institution, funded chiefly by the French social security schemes. It has a unique position within the French social security system owing to its international role.