The Council of Europe has provided legal instruments to define common European social security standards. In addition to the European Social Charter, these valuable tools are the European Code of Social Security, its Protocol and the European Code of Social Security (revised).

The European Code of Social Security

The Code aims at encouraging the development of social security in all member States of the Council of Europe in order that they may gradually reach the highest level possible. The Code fixes a series of standards which Parties undertake to include in their social security systems.

The Code defines norms for social security coverage and establishes minimum levels of protection which Parties must provide in such areas as medical care, sickness benefits, unemployment benefit, old-age benefits, employment injury benefits, family benefits, maternity benefits, invalidity benefits, survivors' benefits, etc.

 

Protocol to the European Code of Social Security

The Protocol contains provisions allowing Parties to achieve a higher level of social security than that provided for in the provisions of the European Code of Social Security.

 

European Code of Social Security (revised)

The revised European Code of Social Security updates and improves the provisions of the European Code of Social Security.

The Revised Code, like its predecessor, defines European norms for social security coverage and establishes minimum levels of protection which Parties must provide in areas such as pensions, unemployment and invalidity benefits, medical care etc. The most important improvements in the new text are higher rates of cover, an extension of the level and duration of benefits, the inclusion of new benefits, relaxation of the conditions of entitlement, a larger number of preventative measures and the absence of all discrimination based on sex.

Implementation of the revised Code by States which have ratified it will be supervised by a Commission of independent experts working within the Council of Europe's framework. Parties are required, in addition, to send reports on their implementation of the Code to their most representative national organisations of employers and workers. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is also called upon to give an opinion on the national reports.

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