Artists insured in Germany who accept work or commissions within the EU should take a look at European social security law. As a supranational law – which takes priority over German law – it determines which country's social security law is to be applied in the case of business activities abroad (applicable law). This is because each country has its own social security system and is responsible for governing social security coverage within its borders. The coordination of social security systems in Europe ensures that only one country's social security law is applied in the case of cross-border activity, ruling out double insurance.
The regulations in place for EU countries also largely apply to the EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The regulations also generally apply to third-country nationals who are residents of these countries.
Exception: Different regulations apply in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland, especially if the artist or creative professional is not a European citizen:
If an application is submitted to determine the applicable law for a temporary work stay in one of these countries, the institution to which the application is submitted must be informed if the applicant is not a European national.
Supranational European social security law is regulated by EC Regulation No. 883/2004. The relevant implementing provisions are governed by EC Regulation No. 987/2009.
Additional details are regulated in the decisions of the EC Administrative Commission.
The whole matter is quite complex, and we can only provide an initial overview here. The Practical Guide of the Administrative Commission provides details on the applicable law in the case of postings and ordinary gainful activity in several countries and also includes numerous model cases.
With respect to gainful employment in another country, European social security law essentially distinguishes between three constellations, which are explained in the following pages: