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social security PERSPECTIVES under the european integration

Abstract. This article describes the Social Security Systems in the European Union member states in the light of their commune objectives, the strategies and implemented reforms, whose unique goal is to establish a right and proper pension level.

In the study, we try to evidence that in the context of European integration, national strategies take account of the phenomena generated by the free circulation of citizens and by the labour services in different countries.

We approach and examine the social security system in Romania in order to single out a diagnosis and an outcome.

In our opinion, the transition from the working active life to the period afterwards, in which Europe’s citizens should enjoy their lifelong savings and the contributions paid into the social security systems, should be a permanent natural act.

Therefore, for the financial sustainability, some solutions are being proposed in the increase in labour force market employment, in the amount of social securities, and also in options between different social security systems.

We explain that Europe has given rise to a community labour force market and that they should elaborate a single vision in the social security system as well; The “lifespan” is not only limited to the period of labour force selling to one’s own benefit and the society’s.

Key words: social security, pension, contribution to the social security system, insurance, labour force employment quotient.

The social security system: concept, notions and the regulatory framework

Analyzing the social security and insurance systems, transforming the insurance systems represent current activities of the member countries of the European Union.

In the social security field, the European Union worked up the regulatory framework by the agency of Council Regulation no. 1408/71/CEE. This determines the application of the social security regimens for the employed persons, certaind self-employed persons and their families’ members which shifts inside the Community.

The implementation of this Regulation is layed down in the Council Regulation no. 574/72/CEE.

After the aderation, the member countries have the obligation to include the means of implementing and applying of these ones into their own social security systems, to designate the competent authority, the liaison organs and the institutions responsible for applying the regulations.

After Romania and Bulgaria adhered to, the regulatory framework has been completed with the Council Regulation no. 1791/2006.

Key words: insured employee, selfemployed person, shilfting worker, family member, applying institution, in cause institution, residence.

The competent authorities are designated to realise the contribution calculation for the work incapacity determined by sicknesses and work accidents, old age, early pensions and partial early pensions, disability, survivor and funeral grant.

The regulations apply to the 27 member countries citizens and include the types of activity that comply with the rules.

We begin our study with the regulatory framework presentation, showing that the member countries of the European Union have to solve both the social insurance and security specific problems and also the contributions transfer problems on the strength of certain conversion rules, the case in which the European citizen has carried out the work in countries other than his origin or residence country.

We shall focus our analysis on the pension field, which implies specific tackling problems.

In the context of the citizens’ free circulation, it has developed a community labour force market. On their active life, the citizens carry out activities simultaneously or in different periods in many countries of the European Union, bringing up the problem of summing the periods of insurance or others the same.  

The calculus of determination of the pensions quanta covers procedures of determination of the national pension, but also of the community one, afterwhich it decrees the pension quantum that the European citizen has the right to.

Some problems arise: determining the insured period, the conversion rules, which are decreed by the Regulations no. 1408/71 and 574/72.

Therefore, the national authorities have to realize a series of objectives to determine the adequate pension, which can provide for an appropriate standard of living:

a)      The assurance of the financial sustainability of their own social insurance

b)      The conversion of the citizens contributions realized in other systems than the national one

In this context, the responsability for the pensions level of adequation falls not only on the citizen’s country of residence, but also on the European Community globally that promoted the labour force market flexicurity system.

We anticipate that the national systems are being obliged to provide transparency for the modality of determining the pensions for every citizen and to furnish options of the quanta which the citizens would benefit after their retirement from the work field.

The analysis of the social insurance systems of the member countries of the European Union on the strenght of significant statistic indicators

A social insurance system has, as a main objective, the determination of an adequate pension, that means setting a pension quantum that provides an acceptable standard of living for the citizen.

The system shows thought for finding the solutions to identify the source of funds for assuring the financial sustainability.

In our study, we start from the question whether the “Pay-As-You-Go” („PAYG”) system can still guarantee an adequate pension to the beneficiaries.

In the case of the existence of a supraunitary ratio beneficiaries-contributors and the lack of reserve funds, the reforms are the ones that must offer solutions.

If previsions can be made upon the demographic indicator that cuantifies the population ageing and upon the labour force replacement rate, the labour force migration causes new problems, both estimatory and cooperatory between the institutions responsible to the social security problems.

We shall take account of the following categories of statistic indicators for describing the social insurance systems in the countries of the European Community:

Indicators of the population and of the labour force

Total population

The total population has a similar tendency of evolution in all member countries of the European Union.

Analysing the range of statistic data that covers values of the last 10 years, we notice a diminuation of the total population in the following countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Croatia and Romania. Severe phenomena of population ageing are recorded in Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. In the other European countries, the population growth rate is insignificant, therefore we can globally characterize that Europe is confronting to a process of population ageing. Thus, in the last 10 years, Romania has recorded a reduction of the total population by 1.053.235 persons, Bulgaria by 700.698 persons and Poland by 523.700 persons.

This phenomenon influences the value of the economically active population indicator and also the population employment rate.

2.2. The population employment rate

The population employment rate in the EU has recorded increases starting with 2002, so that it reached a value of 65,4% in 2007.

The Lisbon Strategy has set as value of the employment rate: 70% of the labour force total employment rate (15-64 years).

Higher values ranging between 71,4% and 85,1% are recorded in the following countries: Denmark (77,1%), Sweden (74,2%), Netherlands (76,0%) and Austria (71,4%).

Another group of countries scores down values ranging between 69,1% and 71,4%: United Kingdom (71,3%), Cyprus (71,0%), Finland ( 70,3%), Germany (69,4%), Estonia (69,4%), Ireland (69,1%).

In the lowest group, ranging between 55,7% and 60,7% are situated: Malta (55,7%), Poland (57%), Hungary (57,3%), Italy (58,7%), Romania (58,8%), Slovakia (60,7%).

The labour force employment rate indicator influences the total value of the contributions into the system and the ratio beneficiaries-contributors. A lower value of this indicator makes us think that the PAYG system must be reformed or completed by oyher systems.

The labour force employment rate can grow up by 2 means:

attracting the inactive population

- maintaining in activity the persons that fulfill the conditions of retirement.

The second way proposed by the authors implies eliminating the early pensions, initiated by the governing as an alternative to making grants to the unemployed.

2.2. Indicators of the social contributions

The impact of the demographic phenomena (population ageing and labour force migration) drives the national systems to setting high values of the contribution paid by the employers and employees.

2.2.1. Social security paid by the employers, as a share of total labour costs

Labour Costs are the total expenditure borne by employers for the purpose of employing staff and they include employee compensation (wages, employers' social security contributions), vocational training costs, other expenditure such as recruitment costs, spending on working clothes; it characterizes the employers’ and employees’ efforts on mentaining a job.

Values over 28% are recorded in the following countries: Sweden (30,56%), Belgium (30,34%), France (28,59%), Lithuania (28,20%).

Values ranging between 26% and 28% are recorded in : Hungary (26,90%), Romania (26,12%), Czech Republic (26,10%)

In the lowest group we find: Malta (6,92%), Denmark (11,59%), Slovenia (13,44%), Luxembourg (15,24%).


Fig.1. Social security paid by the employers, as a share of total labour costs

2.2.2. Employers’ social contribution

The costs incurred by employers to secure entitlement to social benefits for their employees, former employees and their dependants complete the analysis of creating a place of employment.

For the EU-27, the employers’ social contribution was valued in 2005 at 38,3%. Values ranging between 51,4% and 79% could be found in: Estonia (79,0%), Slovakia (62,0%), Czech Republic (54,3%), Lithuania (53,8%), Belgium (51,4%).

Values higher than the EU-27 average were recorded in: Bulgaria (42,4%), Spain (48,9%), France (44,7%), Latvia (47,1%), Hungary (42,0%), Malta (43,5%), Italy (41,7%), Sweden (41,0%), Romania (49,7%).

Less than 20% was recorded in: Denmark (10,3%), Cyprus (19,7%).


Fig.2. The share of employers' social contribution in the total receipts

2.2.3. Social contribution paid by the protected persons

Alongside the social contribution paid by the government and by the employers, the social contribution paid by the protected persons rounds the table of sources in the social insurance system.

The value of the the social contribution paid by the protected persons in the EU-27 was at a 20,8% of the total contributions in 2005.

Values between 34,4% si 40% were recorded in: Slovenia (40,0%), Netherlands(34,4%).

Above the EU-27 average was registered in: Czech Republic (26,4%), Germany (27,7%), Austria (27,4%).

Under 15% was scored down in: Estonia (0,4%), Lithuania (6%), Sweden (8,8%), Finland (11,4%).


Fig.3. The share of the social contribution paid by the protected persons in the total contributions

Expenditure on pensions (share of GDP)

The 'Pensions' aggregate, defined as the sum of the following social benefits: old-age pension, disability pension, early-retirement due to reduced capacity to work, survivors' pension, early-retirement benefit for labour market reasons; related to the GDP volume indicates the level of allocation of the resources gathered to the insurance system and social security.

The value recorded for the EU-27 was 12,2% in 2005.

Values above the EU-27’s average were registered in: Italy (14,8%), Austria (14,2%), France (13,3%), Germany (13,1%), Netherlands (12,6%), Poland (12,7%), Sweden (12,5%).

Values under the level of 7% were recorded in: Ireland (4,9%), Estonia (5,9%), Romania (6,2%), Latvia (6,3%), Lithuania (6,6%), Cyprus (6,8%).


Fig.4. The expenditure on pensions (share of GDP)

The social insurance systems in the member countries of EU-27

The statistic indicators analysis made out a case that the PAYG system must be reformed.

The member countries of the EU-27 have introduced private pensions systems, compulsory and optional, in which the criterion based on accumulation predominates to the injury of the system based on redistribution (PAYG).   Within Pillars I and II, the citizen’s option intervenes for complementing the basic publically administered pension with the private one determined by the period of contributivity, the contributions quanta and the pension funds performance.

From the EU member countries’ presentations refering to the phase of the reforms in the pension field, those aspects and initiatives recommended by this paper’s authors are kept in mind.

We exemplify a few patterns of social insurances that worked up our interest.

3.1. The social insurance system in Austria

It was implemented as far back as 1906, it has been amended throughout the 20th century and transformed into a harmonized system for employed persons, selfemployed persons, farmers and federal workers. The harmonization of the pension system was initiated in 2004. Irrespective of the category which they make part of, the Austrian citizens pay contributions to a maximum monthly earnings of 3750 Euros. It has thus been created a minimum and uniformuos level of the pensions, with the optional possibility of benefiting of different pensions for what exceeds the 3750 Euros monthly earnings, to which the contributions are owed.

In our opinion, the social insurance system from Austria introduces the principle of equally treatment between persons, assuring as far back as the resources accumulation phase the insured persons’ option as future beneficiaries, it is transparent, flexible and stimulating. 

The system offers bonuses for keeping persons in activity, it maintains the pension ages differentiated between men and women, proposing an approach of the pension age for the period 2024-2033.

It has suggested quanta actualization methods through indexation for adapting to the market price.

3.2. The social insurance system in Germany

The social insurance system, imlemented starting with 1889 and amended recently in 2005, is distinguishing by relatively small shares of contributions (9,75% of earnings for the insured persons and 19,5% of earnings for the self-employed persons) and, especially, by annualy diferentiated rates related to the maximum annual earnings.

The persons with monthly earnings less than 400 Euros can make voluntary contributions, while the ones with monthly earnings between 401 and 800 Euros have to pay reduced contributions.

The social insurance system in Germany is protective for the social categories with reduced earnings and for the persons nurturing small children, it is also enticing by tax deductions.

3.3. The social insurance system in Denmark

It was implemented in 1891 and amended in 2004.

It is characterized by an universal prestation service, with a fix quantum for the public system.

There have been developed employment pensions schemes.

There have been introduced rules for keeping persons in the work field, that can opt for continuing the activity in exchange of an increased pension.

3.4. The social insurance system in Netherlands

It is implemented starting with 1901 and was amended since then, the last amendment was in 2006.

The minimum annual earnings for contribution purposes are €13,160 and the maximum annual earnings for contribution purposes are €29,543.

The Dutch citizens benefit of a universally public pension in a fix quantum and have the possibility to contribute to a suplimentary pension.

Politics are initiated for raising the labour force employment rate.

3.5. The social insurance system in Luxembourg

It has been implemented since 1911. The social insurance systems have been reunited since 1987.

It is distinguished by political consensus and guarantees offered to the system’s financial sustainability. A reserve fund was created for the situation in which the labour force employment rate would suffer fluctuations. There have been implemented pension schemes starting with 1989 to ensure the system’s sustainability.

For the insured person, the contributions are at a level of 8% of the gross earnings.

The minimum monthly earnings for contribution and benefit calculation purposes are equal to the social minimum wage (€1,503.42).

The maximum monthly earnings for contribution and benefit calculation purposes are equal to five times the social minimum wage (€ 7,517.12).

3.6. The social insurance system in Belgium

It was implemented in 1900 and amended in 2001.

There are pension systems for: employed persons; special provisions for miners and seamen; special systems for self-employed persons and civil servants. The sources of funds are realized from the insured persons’ contributions: 7.5% of reference earnings. Pensioners contribute 0.5% to 2% of pensions or prepensions.

It is envisaged the realization of reserve funds for ensuring the financial sustainability in the case of a decrease in the labour force employment rate.

The structure of the minimum wage has been consolidated from the pension.

3.7. The social insurance system in Cyprus

It was initiated in 1957 and amended in 1995.

The social insurance system in Cyprus is characterized by the complementarity of the social insurance and the social assistance system.

It is presumed a basic contributions rate and one for the exceeding earnings.

3.8. The social insurance system in France

The initial law from 1910 was reformed in 2003.

Special pension systems are maintained for agricultural, mining, railroad, public utility and public-sector employees; seamen; nonagricultural self-employed persons; and agricultural self-employed persons.

As in Cyprus, the social insurance and the social assistance systems are strongly related.

The insured persons’ contributions are 6.65% of gross earnings for old-age benefits, plus 0.1% of total gross earnings (without a ceiling) for the survivor allowance.

The maximum monthly earnings for contribution purposes are €2,589.

3.9. The social insurance system in Italy

It was implemented in 1919 and it was reorganised and amended on the way, of which last amendment was in 2003.

The insured persons’ contributions are situated at a level of 8.89% of gross earnings.

The process of equalising the pension age between men and women was continued.

Is is highlited the initiation of an automatically transfer mechanism of the selfemployed persons’ contributions to the private pensions schemes.

The social insurance system in Romania

The first law in the field of social insurance dates from 1912. Throughout the 20th century, laws emitted in 1927, 1945, 1966, 1977 functioned.

The actual law is the Law no. 19/2000, implemented in April 2001. This law regularizes the modality of determining the pensions in the public system.

In parallel to the social insurance system, there are laws functioning for determining the pension of the judiciary, diplomatic, military employees, policemen, farmers, and also the liberal profession of lawyers.

The presentation started with Austria showing that in this country there is a harmonized pension system.

Comparing to this, in Romania there is a differentiated system, which is not unique in Europe, but which ensures decreeing pensions differentiated to the public system for the employees that find themselves in one of the above situations, which submit to different laws.

Passing to the application of Law no. 19/2000 was made in a moment in which a number of citizens were benefiting from early pension accordingly to the provisions of Law no. 2/1995. The maximum period of early pension was 5 years, that submitting to Law no. 19/2000, transformed for many into 7 years of early pension because the minimum old-age provided by Law no. 19/2000 was 62 years for men at the date of the apparition, age that shall increase step by step to the age of 65 years for men and 60 years for women. These values shall be reached in 2014. Therefore, Romania maintains the pension ages differentiated between men and women.

Romania introduced a modality of calculus different than the one which functioned accordingly to Law no. 3/1977, basing on the contributivity principle, which takes account of the contributions provided in the entire active life of every citizen. Taking in consideration the modality of calculus that existed earlier, which decreed the pension quantum basing on the average of the earnings realized in 5 consecutive optionally selected years from the last 10, many persons find themselves in the situation to have had calculated quanta under the guaranteed minimal level of earnings through the new modality of calculus, and can do nothing for increasing the actual pension.

Romania confronts itself with problems related to the stages of cotization differentiated for the workers that unfolded their labour activity in special labour groups, group I or special conditions, hence in other conditions than the normal ones.

For these situations, legislative amendments were introduced because the advantages provided accordingly to the laws the persons retired weren’t explicitly decreed in the applied provision of the law.

Through the recalculation process, it has been tried to apply the principle of contributivity also to the persons retired based on earlier laws.

Romania was forced to issue rules of application for the situations in which the retired persons have had contributivity periods while in Romania there were produced monetary stability phenomena (earlier of 1962), the impact having been effectively existed in 1947-1949 and in 1952.

From our presentations, something must be kept in mind: Romania has one of the lowest labour force employment rate (58,8% in 2006) and the highest decrease in value of the total population. ( 1.053.235 persons less in 2008 related to 1997)

Howbeit, Romania proposes the diminuation of the employees’ contribution rate (from 11,67% in 2002 to 9,5% in present), in addition to the diminuation of the employers’ contribution.

Therefore, Romania makes a motion that, by diminuating the fiscal pressure on the employers and employees, it can attract labour force, because many activity sectors record deficiencies also because of the labour force migration phenomenon.

The author proposes the analysis of the indicator „adequation grade”, expressed as a ratio between the average pension and average net wage.

The period the analysis focuses on is 2005-2008, which I consider proper because of the process of recalculating pensions through the new method of calculus introduced in Romania.

The pension adequation grade

Retired categories

A.G. 2005

A.G. 2006

A.G. 2007

A.G. 2008






I. Social insurances

1.1. Old-age

Of which WOMEN

- with completed stage

Of which WOMEN

- without completed stage

Of which WOMEN

1.2. Early pension

Of which WOMEN

1.3. Partial early pension

Of which WOMEN

1.4 Disability

Of which WOMEN

- 1st degree

Of which WOMEN

- 2nd degree

Of which WOMEN

- 3rd degree

Of which WOMEN

1.5 Survivors

2. Social subsidy

Of which WOMEN

3. I.O.V.R.

Of which WOMEN

Fig. 5 The pension adequation grade

It turns out that the pension adequation grade was ameliorated, although the labour force employment rate had had a fluctuating evolution, recording an increase from 57,7% in 2005 to 58,8% in 2006, afterwards it started the decrease process of the labour force employment rate: 57,9% in December 2007 and 57,7% in the first quarter of 2008.

The method introduced is the obligatory contributivity for all the gross earnings.

Reduced adequation grades are registered for the categories of disability pensions, survivor pensions and social subsidies.

The early pensions record adequation grades close to or higher of the average (61,88% in 2008) of the category „early pensions”, which means that although the labour force employment rate is decreasing, this phenomenon is encouraged to the detriment of the discriminated social categories. (disability pensions 34,91% in 2008).

The dinamic analysis of the pension adequation grade can be utilized to discover the indicator’s evolution in time:

The evolution of the adequation grade index indicator

Retired categories

I AG 2008/ 2005

I AG 2008/ 2006

I AG 2008/ 2007





I. Social insurances

1.1. Old-age

Of which WOMEN

- with completed stage

Of which WOMEN

- without completed stage

Of which WOMEN

1.2. Early pension

Of which WOMEN

1.3. Partial early pension

Of which WOMEN

1.4 Disability

Of which WOMEN

- 1st degree

Of which WOMEN

- 2nd degree

Of which WOMEN

- 3rd degree

Of which WOMEN

1.5 Survivors

2. Social subsidy

Of which WOMEN

3. I.O.V.R.

Of which WOMEN

Fig.6 The adequation grade index

We remark that the adequation grade has appreciated in 2006, when the labour force employment rate reached the highest value of the analized period.

We supersubscribe that the adequation grade indicator and the adequation rate indexes from Fig. 5 and 6 are calculated by the author.

They can be utilized in the comparative analysis of the countries, as indicators of social insurances.

The structural analysis of the indicator can represent a study area in the elaboration of national strategies.

I exemplified the social insurance systems in a few countries of Europe to suggest for Romania:

The harmonization of the pension systems following the Austria model

The ensurance of a minimum guaranteed pension following the Austrian, Dutch or Spanish model

Handling the pension system based on political consensus and realizing previsions following the Luxembourg model

Providing advantages to the employers and employees following the German model, for the situations in which there are created places of employment paid at the minimum level of wage

Restraining the early pensions following the general tendency in Europe

The transparency of application of the Council Regulations no. 1408/71/CEE and no. 574/72/CEE

Attracting the labour force of Romanian origin to contribute to the Romanian pension system

The creation of an anticipative system based on the Swedish model.

A New Approach

Starting from the way in which a social insurance system is appreciated, I consider that the adequation grade indicator can be utilized both for a static characterisation of the phenomenon dynamics, but also in teritorial, regional and interstate comparisons.

I consider that the the adequation grade indicator expressed as ratio between the average net pension and the average net wage is the one that cuantifies the most correctly the analysed economic phenomenon because the gross earnings which comply with the contributions, the taxation, that are specific to the national systems.

In conclusion

Europe confronts with the same ageing-population phenomenon with implications to the labour force employment rate.

The equity of chances supposes the equallity of treatment, that in my opinion means equivalent wages to the imigrating workers and to the country based workers, on the criterion of the place in which the work is carried on, and not on the country of origin criterion.

Keeping an eye on the persons with low earnings and making use of the concepts of poverty rate, creating entities responsible with keeping an eye, all of these gives proof of the fact that Europe has responsabilities in ensuring the pension adequation rate because the citizens find themselves in the situation of contributing to insurance systems of different countries.

The only conversion of the contributions does not integrate a final solution, but a start in the systems’ harmonization.

The efforts of increasing the old-age period to maintain the labour force in activity have to be incentive and not restraining.

The moment of passing from the active life to the inactive life has to be a natural act.

This means that the pension adequation grade, cuantified as a ratio between the pension value and the average net wage, must be an analysing joint objective of the European Union.


[1] M. Altar, “Teoria portofoliului', Editura ASE,  aaaBucuresti, 2002

[2] C. Anghelache, “Modelarea si simularea proceselor aaaeconomice - note de curs”, Editura ARTIFEX, Bucuresti, aaa2004

[3] C. Anghelache coord., “Elemente de analiza actuariala in aaaasigurari”, Editura ARTIFEX, Bucuresti, 2007

[4] C. Anghelache, “Starea economica. Zestrea economica la aaaaderare”, Editura Economica, Bucuresti, 2007

[5] C. Anghelache, “Starea economica inaintea aderarii”, aaaEditura Economica, Bucuresti, 2005

[6] Gh. D. Bistriceanu, “Asigurari si reasigurari in Romania”, aaaEditura Universitara, Bucuresti, 2006

I. Partachi coord., “Statistica actuariala in asigurari”, aaaEditura Economica , Bucuresti, 2006



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