From European unemployment insurance to European pension insurance?
An academic piece on the communitarisation of social security.
Dr. Sch-W – 03/2019
establishment of a European unemployment insurance (or reinsurance) scheme as a
tool for supposed macroeconomic ‘stabilisation’ of the euro area has already
been extensively discussed.
idea is that in the event of external shocks, the countries most affected will
receive financial assistance. Most of the exact details are still up in the air,
particularly the question of whether financial transfers should specifically
benefit those who become unemployed or should funds go towards strengthening
the macroeconomic stabilisation function of social systems is not just limited to
unemployment insurance, it is only a matter of time until the debate spreads to
other branches of social security. Independent author Filipe Duarte has made a
contribution to the debate via the Berlin-based publishing platform ‘Social
Europe’. He believes that a European insurance mechanism should be established
for insurance-based cash benefits, making specific reference to unemployment
benefits and old-age pensions.
would not only help current and former beneficiaries of these programmes, such
as Portugal, but also dispel doubts about the sustainability of public finances
and avoid structural reforms. More importantly, it is about using a system of
redistribution within the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights. This
would result in less pressure on social security systems due to cyclical risks
of fiscal consolidation, falling tax revenues, higher levels of unemployment and
an ageing population. Such mechanisms would be financed through taxation or
Member State contributions based on their GDP.
an even better solution would be a European pay-as-you-go pension scheme,
similar to existing national schemes. This type of system could come under the
umbrella of the new European Labour Authority. This is preferable to the
concept of a privately-funded pan-European pension product as an expression of
social (Union) citizenship.
recommendations are currently utopian and not fully fleshed out. Nonetheless,
they make it evident that the proposed European unemployment insurance/reinsurance
scheme is just one of several additional steps that ultimately would lead to
the communitarisation of Member States’ social security systems, albeit not
formally but as a result of financial transfers.