Approaching EU enlargements as transnational events, this collaborative project examines transnational European welfare. It focuses on the portability of social security rights in the enlarged European Union; that is, the rights to health insurance and to unemployment, retirement and family-related benefits. The purpose of this project is to understand how mobile individuals organize their access to social security rights. In particular, it is interested in situations in which people transfer their benefits from one country to another. For example, some people have paid for health insurance in their country of emigration and want to use it in country of immigration, while others who have contributed to unemployment insurance in the sending want to transfer it to the receiving country. The project involves a comparative analysis, which traces the migrations of regularly and irregularly employed migrants and the portability of their social security rights between four pairs of countries: Hungary–Austria, Bulgaria–Germany, Poland–United Kingdom and Estonia–Sweden.

The main outcome will be a typology of transnational portability regimes derived from the comparative analysis of four research objectives for the respective pairs of countries. First, the project examines legal regulations on the portability of social security rights (Work Package 1: Document Analysis and Expert Interviews). Second, it analyses a variety of mobile EU citizens’ practices of portability, including limitations to portability they may involve (Work Package 2: Quantitative Survey). Third, the project reconstructs discourses of belonging incorporated into portability regulations to determine how they shape individuals’ access to social security (Work Package 3: Discourse Analysis). Fourth, it provides insights into individuals’ inequality experiences resulting from limitations to portability (Work Package 4: Qualitative In-Depth Interviews). Building on a transnational comparison of the four pairs of countries, the project then reconstructs variations in the portability of social security rights (Work Package 5: Integrated Analysis of Results and Comparison).