The European Commission sets up a new high-level expert group.

IF – 11/2021

European social security systems have helped to ensure that our societies continue to develop and provide stable social protection for Europe's citizens.

Starting signal for the expert group

As announced in the action plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights (see News 03/2021), the European Commission has now set up a high-level expert group in mid-November. Together, they will explore the future of the welfare state, how it is financed and how it links to the changing world of work.

Keeping pace with constant change

It is not only the COVID-19 pandemic that has shown how valuable and indispensable social security systems are. Quality healthcare, financially stable pension systems and effective occupational health and safety are essential foundations of social security systems. However, long-term perspectives are now to be developed as the demands on welfare states are also constantly changing and more challenges are faced in the provision of services.

Which areas assume priority?

The aim is to develop recommendations on how to make social security systems fit and sustainable.

Therefore, focus is on the following topics:

  • demographic change, leading to smaller workforces and an ageing population;
  • the transformations in the labour market to accompany the digital and green transition and to open up new opportunities,
  • the increase in atypical forms of work, globalisation and the emergence of new risks in social security.

In its work, the expert group will build on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The interaction between social security systems and other socially related policies such as education, social inclusion, disability, healthcare and long-term care will also be considered.

Report expected next year

By the end of 2022, a vision for strengthening European social security and welfare systems in the face of persistent and imminent challenges will be presented in the form of a report. The group, consisting of 12 members, is chaired by Ms Anna Diamantopoulou, former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

The results will be of the utmost interest to all European social security institutions. It would be desirable to involve the social insurance funds in the drafting of the recommendations and to check their real feasibility beforehand.

More information about the exact mandate and the members of the expert group can be found here.