When Otto von Bismarck laid
the foundations for social legislation 140 years ago, he had no idea that
Germany would be campaigning for a common Europe a good 70 years later on.
Especially not that his German social insurance would one day fly the flag in
Brussels, the capital of Europe.
Social insurance is a German
success story. Based on the conviction that basic social needs must be met with
political solutions, the statutory health, accident and pension insurance
schemes have been repeatedly adapted over the course of time to meet new
socio-political challenges. Be it through the inclusion of other groups of
people, through changes in services or through reorganisations.
The leading organisations in
the German social insurance scheme set up a joint European mission in Brussels
in 1993. Their decision was made against the background of the Maastricht
Treaty and the European Single Market. Their belief was that intensive economic
cooperation within the EU must not neglect social issues. This made local
political participation necessary.
DSV as a pioneer
The financial crisis of
2008/2009 made it clear yet again that a Europe that wants to be accepted by
the people must also have a social face. This was clearly expressed in 2017
through the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Europe has
grown together without unifying the social security schemes.
German Social Insurance representation
was the first of its kind. Missions from other member states followed about ten
years later. They found room in the "European Social Insurance House"
at 50 rue d'Arlon, which is still the seat of German Social Insurance's
In addition to the strategic
development work of the mission that represents the interests of the
self-administered social insurance schemes from Germany, the European mission
is also doing pioneering work in establishing a European voice. Under its
leadership, the ESIP (European Social Insurance Platform) was founded in 1996
and it now represents 45 national social insurance schemes from 17 EU member
states and Switzerland.
Impact of the EU
German Social Insurance
European representation is extremely well positioned thanks to its three
decades of "professional experience". Its institutions, with 56
million pensioners and 26 million pension recipients, over 73 million medically
insured people and around 40 million employees in the statutory accident
insurance schemes, lend great weight to their work.
Being a self-governmental scheme,
the German social insurance scheme is an exception in Europe. The central task
of the European mission has been communicating the advantages of the self-government
principle at European level right from the beginning. This has always worked
European health and social
policies have changed 30 years after they were founded. The local work has
become increasingly important. Europe often seems far away - but the Brussels
initiatives and laws often have a direct impact, both on the social insurance
institutions as well as on the insured.