Principles for effective and reliable welfare provision systems

17 Sep 2015
Adopted References: SOC/520 EESC-2015-01011-00-01-ac-tra Own-initiative Rapporteur: Schlüter (Various interests - GR III / Germany) Plenary Session: 510 - 16 Sep 2015 - 17 Sep 2015 (Summary Plenary Session) OJ C 13, 15.1.2016, p. 40–48
Principles for effective and reliable welfare provision systems

EESC opinion: Sound social benefit systems – a social agenda for Europe

Key points

The EESC finds that social policy principles could provide a substantive basis for the Commission's recommendations. It proposes the following principles for welfare provision systems:

  • Principle of a social protection floor: guarantee of basic welfare provision, including subsistence protection/minimum income for people without an adequate income;
  • Principle of need: provision of modern social/healthcare services for different problem situations;
  • Principle of a precise definition of aims: development of clear social policy goals;
  • Principle of accessibility: welfare provision must be affordable, accessible, non-discriminatory;
  • Principle of proportionality: services and benefits should be appropriate in their form and extent;
  • Principle of solidarity: funding of welfare provision should essentially be supported by solidarity-based social insurance systems and fair, solidarity-based tax systems;
  • Principle of personal responsibility: job-seekers should be supported through social services to subsist through their own efforts;
  • Principle of participation: services and benefits should help people to play their part in society;
  • Principle of structure: rational configuration of the legal and financial relationship between users, welfare providers, welfare authorities and social insurance bodies;
  • Principle of the user's right to decide: users are not passive recipients, but partners in assistance and citizens with entitlements;
  • Principle of legal certainty: services and benefits should be legally guaranteed, for instance under social legislation or similar democratic legal instruments of the Member States;
  • Principle of public interest: in particular, third-sector and participatory forms of undertaking and organisation should enjoy appropriate financial and legal conditions;
  • Principle of transparency: the use of public funds should be transparent;
  • Principle of a joined-up approach: new family constellations, ageing and immigration call for integrated and joined-up services;
  • Principle of a level playing-field: users, welfare authorities and welfare providers should have legally enshrined and enforceable rights and duties;
  • Principle of quality: social services should be backed up by quality assurance measures;
  • Principle of coordination: management of cross-border issues relating to social security and social protection should be improved.