Author: Christiane Varga
Editor: Dieter Feierabend
An ever-faster changing demographic, varieties in individual lifestyles, multi-ethnical societies, a whole new understanding of the work environment, digitalisation, and new forms of mobility (or meta-mobility) have put pressure on our existing (national) systems. Furthermore, disruptions and crises such as climate change and the coronavirus pandemic add further complexity to an already changing society. Yet, European welfare state models, with established comprehensive benefit schemes in almost all EU member states, appear not to have adapted to these changes. Old social systems were historically based on a less complex, less global, less interconnected and less individualised society. However, these old structures are not adapted to these new parameters, resulting in a number of implications.
The European pillar of social rights will only be beneficial for citizens, and affordable for societies, if we succeed in developing a common European vision of a modern basic security system. Therefore, we need to change our perspectives: we need to re-think society as a whole, in its holistic form. To create a more “resilient society” (with the pillars of social inclusion, social capital and social mobility), new ideas, models and concepts can be a good starting point to re-design basic social security. Furthermore, society is currently transitioning towards a new form, the network society, which operates in a structurally different and highly complex self-referential way, and requires new political thinking and action.
In light of the above, this study aims to contribute to a scientific debate on how modern basic social security systems may cope with a transforming society and new work-life realities, and thus reflect the complexity and diversity of a European society that is undergoing continuous change. As a result, policymakers on European and national levels should consider the following recommendations when creating new opportunities and legal frameworks for basic social security systems.