Among EU Member States, differences in national unemployment benefit levels are huge.

Dr. Sch.-W. – 11/2019

The Workers’ Group within the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) promotes Europe-wide minimum standards for unemployment benefits and active vocational reintegration. Not least the “passive” wage-compensating benefits show large divergences between Member States. In this context, Germany counts among those countries whose benefits appear generous, but in turn are granted for a relatively short period of time.

To begin with, the European minimum standards are to be developed and observed within the framework of the European Semester. They will include the level of cover as well as the replacement rate and the duration of unemployment benefits. As a result of the implementation of country-specific recommendations often marked by a lack of ambition and willpower, it is expected that mandatory minimum standards will sooner or later become unavoidable.

This project should not be mixed up with the European Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Such a scheme is meant to ensure a financial transfer of resources to those countries hit by an economic shock. The question if the unemployed will benefit directly or indirectly from such payments is not covered by the forthcoming project. However, the only link to unemployment is that unemployment or a sudden rise in unemployment will trigger transfer payments.

The relevant “policy briefing” by the Workers’ group can be downloaded here.