Within the European Union, social security basically remains a national field of competence. The lack of common norms has paved the way for a large disparity in social protection between EU Member States, which is not conducive to the European single market. Moreover, it may lead to an increase in poverty and social exclusion in some regions and intensify economic competition between Member States on the basis of labour costs.
At the same time, almost all EU Member States are bound by one or more international social security instruments developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and by the Council of Europe. The most important instrument, ILO Convention No. 102 on Minimum Standards of Social Security, was adopted in 1952 with a view to promoting the right to social security for everyone, to guide nations in the development of their social security systems, to create higher standards, and to prevent an imbalance in markets caused by unequal social costs.
From the perspective of two case studies, this book seeks to address the question whether the standards are still suitable to meet their objectives sixty years after their creation. For example, can they still be used as a benchmark for the development of social security systems? Do they contribute to better social protection? And do they provide a common basis for social security within the EU context?
The study starts with an in-depth analysis of the international standards, followed by the case studies of the Czech Republic and Estonia. The country studies provide a description of the national social security systems and a comparison of these systems with international standards. The last part of the book comprises conclusions and discussions regarding the applicability and adequacy of the international standards in the two countries, which are, however, also relevant to other EU Member States.
The Social Europe Series gives the reader more than an introduction to the social systems of the member states of the European Union. It offers the social security expert with comparative experience the opportunity to place his or her knowledge of (aspects of) foreign social security systems in a broader national context. The series facilitates the broad comparison of the national systems, by describing them according to a uniform structure.
Editorial board: Michael Adler (University of Edinburgh), Anne Davies (University of Oxford), Guus Heerma van Voss (University of Leiden), Frank Hendrickx (University of Leuven & Tilburg University), Frans Pennings (Utrecht University), Sophie Robin-Olivier (University of Paris X Nanterre), Achim Seifert (University of Luxembourg ), Sara Stendahl (Göteborg University) and Bernd Waas (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt).
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