The EU Commission has drawn up proposals for its own version of the National Insurance number, which is used by governments to monitor those who are in work for tax purposes.
The move would hand eurocrats an unprecedented database about people’s earnings and tax affairs and will raise further fears over the growing creep of an EU superstate.
Critics today blasted the plans as “takeover, not trade” and said they demonstrated why it is crucial Britain carries on with Brexit and quits the bloc in 2019.
Plans for the new social security scheme are buried at the bottom of a dossier about Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposed new European Labour Authority, unveiled in his State of the Union address.
The authority would be tasked with ensuring a level playing field across the EU in terms of pay and working conditions, and is a response to fears of wage undercutting by Eastern European workers.
It was announced after new French president Emmanuel Macron put cracking down on abuses of free movement at the heart of his agenda as a way of winning back the support of people who voted for Marine Le Pen.
Mr Macron, an enthusiastic eurofederalist, also called for “a common corporate tax band” and European minimum wage in a landmark address yesterday that was peppered with superstate policies.
Brussels has long coveted the ability to directly raise its own cash by taxing citizens, something that an EU-wide social security number would bring a step closer to reality.
And the scheme would also provide eurocrats with a new database about its citizens, potentially including details such as their addresses, employment histories, salaries and credit ratings.
Tory MEP David Cambell Bannerman told express.co.uk: “Why does a trade block need social security numbers, or an army, or one finance minister, if it isn’t trying to create one superstate?
“Juncker wants control over VAT – already an EU tax – and corporation tax too. Social security numbers means an EU income tax, national insurance and pensions. This is takeover not trade. We’d better leave faster.”
The idea of an EU social security card was first raised by federalist MEPs in the European Parliament back in January this year, who said it would “improve EU social security coordination and individual awareness”.
Now that it has made its way into the EU Commission’s plans, eurocrats will draw up an official legal proposal which will then be put before the 28 member states at some point next year.
Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, compared the proposals to the pan-European banking identification scheme that allows seamless payments across the EU.
She said: “Just like IBAN numbers have made online bank transfers possible for EU citizens, a single social security number will make life easier for citizens on the move and will facilitate controls.
“We will table a proposal to develop such European social security number also next year.”
However, one British official expressed skepticism about whether the proposals will ever “see the light of day”, adding they are “not something that will happen in the real world”.
The new Labour Authority will have to be passed by a qualified majority vote in the council, and there are suggestions some more sovereignty minded countries could look to block it.
In the end, the scheme could end up getting watered down by to resemble the bloc’s Platform on Undeclared Work, which has few formal powers and consists of national experts exchanging tips on combatting cash in hand labour.
In his State of the Union address, Mr Juncker admitted that “national social systems will still remain diverse and separate for a long time” but called for a “common understanding of what is socially fair in our single market”.