Social Security

  The Department
Social Charter
Social Security


Standards setting
Coordination of national legislations


Mutual Information System on Social Protection (MISSCEO)
Cooperation activities
Training courses
Publications on social security

Social Security


Social security systems are one of the most powerful institutional expressions of social solidarity and an important means by which to ensure an adequate standard of living for the people of Europe.

Since it was founded in 1949, the Council of Europe, whose aim is "to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress", has played a major role in establishing social security minimum standards in Europe, developing social security coordination between its member states, and monitoring developments in the field of social security in Europe.

The legal instruments of the Council of Europe relating to social security may be classified as either standard-setting instruments or co-ordinating ones.

Standard-setting instruments require states to alter the substance of their social security systems. They may have to change the amount of benefit or length of the qualifying period.

The European Code of Social Security and its Protocol, as well as the Revised European Code of Social Security, set standards in the social security field on the basis of minimum harmonisation of the level of social security, providing minimum standards and permitting (or rather encouraging) the contracting parties to exceed these standards. These standard-setting instruments set out the underlying principles of what is referred to as the European social security model.

Co-ordination of social security is concerned with migrants, people who move to another country in order to live or work there. Co-ordination provisions ensure that migrants are treated fairly as regards social security. They also aim to reduce some of the disadvantages of moving from one state to another, particularly in respect of long-term benefits such as old age pensions. Co-ordination provisions do not oblige states to directly alter the substance of their social security laws. The amount of benefit, duration of payment and qualification periods all remain the same.

  Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter
  and the European Code of Social Security

Rules of procedure

Bureau Membership


Meeting calendars

Resolution on the application of the European Code of Social Security

Follow up of the Conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights


 The former Committee of experts on Social Security (CS-SS)

 Terms of references



Since January 2012, activities in relation to the European Social Charter and the European Code of Social Security have been put together. As part of the process, the International Labour Organisations' (ILO) conclusions related to the monitoring of compliance with the European Code of Social Security are now examined by the Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter, which for this purpose has been renamed Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter and the European Code of Social Security.



16th MISSCEO network meeting, Strasbourg, 26-27 June 2014 (more...)
Meetings of the Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter and the European Code of Social Security:
129th meeting, 19-23 May 2014
128th meeting, 30 September - 4 October 2013 (more...)

The 2013 MISSCEO data is now available on line (more…)


Seminar on recent case-law of Constitutional Courts in the field of Social security, 29-30 November 2011, Strasbourg (more...)

 Recent publications

Sustaining European social security systems in a globalised economy (2012)


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Anti-crisis measures - Safeguarding jobs and social security in Europe (2011)


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Guide to the concept of suitable employment in the context of unemployment benefit (2010)


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