How should the welfare state be made fit for the future?
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
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
- demographic change, leading to smaller workforces and an ageing
- 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.
information about the exact mandate and the members of the expert group can be