Comments from the German Social Insurance.

IF – 09/2019

Shortly before the European elections, the European Commission, as one of its last acts of the 8th parliamentary term, launched a discussion on more efficient decision-making in EU social policy.

In a Communication, the European Commission has proposed extending decision-making in the Council to qualified majority voting. The European Representation of the German Social Insurance reported in detail the possible transition to qualified majority voting (see article April 2019).


In a rapidly changing world of work, it is more important than ever to quickly find effective policy responses to new circumstances and living conditions. According to the European Commission, increased use of qualified majority voting in the Council and the ordinary legislative procedure for social policy decisions could contribute to this.

One of the main arguments for the change is that it would no longer be necessary to convince every single Member State of the need to take the necessary measures, only a majority is required. Some time ago, the European Commission put forward similar proposals for foreign policy, security policy and tax policy.

The umbrella organisations of the German social insurance system are taking part in the debate with a statement and are campaigning for the unanimity principle to be maintained for social security. Only unanimous decisions in the Council can ensure that the core components of social security systems remain intact.

The German Social Insurance is therefore clearly opposed to the application of the general bridging clauses in Article 48(7) TEU and qualified majority voting for social security and the social protection of workers (except in a cross-border context).

Member States are first and foremost responsible for organising and financing their social security systems. Only unanimous decisions in the Council can ensure that the core elements of social security are not interfered with.

You can find the German Social Insurance’s statement here (currently German only).

The initiative shows that the European Commission wants to increase the speed with which decisions are made in social policy in the future. It remains to be seen whether this will also be treated as a priority under Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen.