Written Answers. - International Multilateral Agreements.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

739 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the proposed international multilateral agreements under the auspices of his Department being negotiated or prepared; the international organisation, if any, in each case through whose machinery the agreement is being negotiated; if it is proposed to ratify or accede to the agreement, if adopted; if so, if legislation will be required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19549/00]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

740 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the international multilateral agreements under the auspices of his Department which have not been signed by the State; the date and place it was opened for signature in each case; the international organisation, if any, through whose machinery the agreement was negotiated; if it is proposed to sign the agreement; if so, when; if legislation is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19564/00]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

741 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the international multilateral agreements under the auspices of his Department which have been signed but not ratified or acceded to by the State; the date and place it was opened for signature in each case; the international organisation, if any, through whose machinery the agreement was negotiated; if it is proposed to ratify or accede to the agreement; if so, when; if legislation is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19579/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 739, 740 and 741 together.

There are a series of international agreements and conventions relating to social security which it is open to Ireland to become a party to or to ratify. Details relating to the main such instruments follow.
The European Code of Social Security, drawn up by the Council of Europe, lays down minimum standards in this field. The code was opened for signature on 16 April 1964. Ireland has ratified the code and accepted five parts relating to sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, old age benefit, family benefit and survivor's benefit respectively. It has not been possible to date to ratify the remaining four parts dealing with medical care, employment injury benefit, maternity benefit and invalidity benefit. These parts are currently under review in my Department to establish whether ratification has become possible. A revised code was opened for signature by member states of the Council of Europe on 6 November 1990. Ireland has not signed or ratified this Revised Code, to date.
Ireland has ratified a similar ILO Convention No. 102 concerning minimum standards of social security on 17 June 1968, and accepted parts of the convention relating to sickness benefit, unemployment benefit and survivor's benefit. This convention is under review in relation to its unratified parts, medical care, old age benefit, employment injury benefit, family benefit, maternity benefit and invalidity benefit.
Detailed provisions for the co-ordination of social security schemes throughout the European Union and European Economic Area are contained in Council Regulations (EEC) Nos. 1408/71 and 574/72. These regulations provide for the co-ordination of social security schemes for employed and self-employed persons, students and members of the families of such persons moving throughout the European Union and the European Economic Area. The Regulations also cover refugee and stateless persons who are residing in an EU/EEA member state as well as members of their family, regardless of their nationality, and their survivors.
The Council of Europe's European Convention on Social Security was opened for signature by the member states of the Council of Europe on 14 December 1972 and was signed by Ireland on 23 February 1979.
The Convention is designed to ensure, in each ratifying country, equality of treatment in social security for nationals of other ratifying countries and for refugees and stateless persons and also to ensure that entitlement to social security benefits is maintained despite changes of residence within such countries.
To date eight of the member states of the Council of Europe viz. Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey, have ratified the Convention.
All, except Turkey, are members of the European Union and, accordingly, the social security entitlements of persons moving between Ireland and those countries are already protected by the EU Regulations on social security.
Consideration will be given to the signing and ratrification of a protocol to this convention, which was opened for signature on 11 May l994, in the context of any future review as to whether Ireland should ratify the main convention. The Protocol has been signed by four countries – Austria, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal – but has not been ratified by any of them.
Information sought in relation to other multilateral agreements is being provided by the Government colleagues who have primary responsibility.