Assimilation, territoriality and reverse discrimination: a shift in European social security law?
ABSTRACT The last step in the deterritorialisation of the welfare state was taken with the enactment of the European principle of assimilation. Henceforth, a Member State must give parity of treatment to facts and events occurring abroad. European Union law does not only require the assimilation of foreign nationals, but also the assimilation of the facts that affect those persons. This contribution offers different perspectives on the assimilation principle. Its impact on the rights and duties of individuals is determined. In this regard, the prohibition on reverse discrimination flowing from the assimilation principle is noteworthy. A second theme is the balance of power between Europe and its Member States. How does the principle affect national social security schemes? Besides, it is examined how the principle fits within its regulatory framework, ie the coordinating Regulations. A last question is whether the principle is autonomous or merely auxiliary to the equal treatment rule.