Welcome to the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

The European Centre is a UN-affiliated intergovernmental organization concerned with all aspects of social welfare policy and research. Executive Director is Prof. Dr. Bernd Marin.


Interview Bernd Marin in FONDS professionell


Executive Director Bernd Marin was recently featured in FONDS professionell. He gave an extensive interview on the pension system and the newly established pension account.
To see the full interview, click here

Invitation: Online discussion on Engaging citizens in well-being and progress statistics

Online Discussion

From 22 April until 30 April, Wikiprogress and partners (including the European Centre), invite you to join this online discussion. Leading questions are: (1) How can citizen engagement improve the development and use of well-being and progress statistics?, (2) Do you have any examples of good practice in citizen engagement in well-being and progress statistics?, (3) What role can technology – such as mobile apps or interactive web platforms – play in improving citizen engagement with well-being and progress statistics? To leave a comment, click here and scroll to the section entitled “Contribute!”

Intergenerational conflict or solidarity between the young and the old? The case of the Austrian long-term care system (in German)


Aspects of intergenerational solidarity are increasingly becoming a subject of debates about social protection systems among policy-makers and civil society. In a European comparison, Andrea Schmidt contrasts the financing, provision and governance mechanisms in long-term care for older people in Austria with child care and family benefits. In her contribution to Momentum Quarterly she concludes that additional policy measures, such as the introduction of ‘long-term care taxes’ on assets, could improve the balance of elements of solidarity, including but not limited to intergenerational solidarity.

New opinion paper, European Social Observatory paper series


In a new opinion paper of the European Social Observatory paper series, Pieter Vanhuysse summarizes European findings from his Bertelsmann Stiftung report on “Intergenerational Justice in Aging Societies”. He notes that EU Member States occupied 8 of the 9 highest positions in the OECD on the pro-elderly bias of social spending, with Poland in pole position, followed by Southern and Eastern European countries, and Austria. A new section, entitled “The special Trouble with Central Europe”, argues that adverse labor market and social policy cultures in the past two decades, combined with fast population aging in the next two decades, add up to a bleak ‘generational politics’ picture for the Visegrad-4 and Slovenia.

Press conference featuring Bernd Marin and Michael Fuchs to "Sonderpensionenbegrenzungsgesetz"


Bernd Marin and Michael Fuchs will take part in a press conference to the topic of the Austrian "Sonderpensionenbegrenzungsgesetz". It will take place in the Presseclub Concordia on Friday, 25. April 2014, 10:00. They will cover not only the basics of this law, but also go into detail about economic implications. For further information click here.

International Seminar: on Actor- and System-Security

Professor Wim van Oorschot (Department of Sociology, KU Leuven) discussed social security policies as parts of a wider social setting providing a (more or less) stable and viable socio-political and socio-economic context for citizens’ lives (‘system-security’). He asked how secure people actually feel when it comes to their socio-economic status, and to what degree social policies affect such feelings, and presented evidence from the 2008 European Social Survey in which Europeans were asked how they perceived their future income and employment security. for more information click here.

Optimal Continence Service Specification presented


The Fifth Global Forum on Incontinence (GFI) on “Better Care, Better Health – Towards a Framework for Better Continence Solutions” took place from 8-9 April 2014 in Madrid. Kai Leichsenring gave one of the keynote speeches on ‘Incontinence, Ageing Societies and Long-term Care’. Almost 300 delegates from more than 30 countries were informed about the impact of incontinence, in particular also about the ‘Optimal Continence Service Specification’, elaborated over the past year by an international team of experts (Adrian Wagg, Diane Newman, Paul van Houten and Kai Leichsenring) with support from KPMG. It provides an evidence-based blueprint for payers, providers and clinical professionals on how best to procure, organise and deliver continence care services.

First MOPACT Active Ageing Forum announced


The first MOPACT Active Ageing Forum will take place in Brussels on Monday 19 May 2014. It provides stakeholders and end users with the opportunity to appraise MOPACT’s interim findings, and to contribute their own ideas how to develop the work and maximise its impact. A limited number of funded places are available to key stakeholders. If you are interested in attending please visit the event page. The MOPACT project (Mobilising the Potential of Active Ageing in Europe) targets the key challenges of ageing: economic and financial consequences of ageing; social support, long-term care and quality of life; the built and technological environment; health and well-being

Lecture at the MaxNetAging Conference 2014


Can biologists, economists, philosophers, sociologists and policy scientists reach a common language on aging? This is one of the goals of the Max Planck International Research Network on Aging (MaxNetAging), a virtual institute by the Max Plank Society for the advancement of research on the causes, patterns, processes, and consequences of aging. At this year’s conference, organized at Resort Schwielowsee by Director James W. Vaupel of the Max Planck Institute for Demography in Rostock, Pieter Vanhuysse exchanged views with Axel Börsch-Supan (MEA), Axel Gosseries (UCL), Gunhild Hagestad (NOVA) and Merrill Silverstein (Syracuse) and others.

International Seminar: Do Business Interests Sustain Austria's Welfare State?

Thomas Paster (Max Planck Köln) delivered an EC International Seminar on the role of business interests in sustaining the Austrian welfare state. Business interests have become more assertive in pushing for welfare retrenchment, arguing that high labour costs impede international competitiveness. But Austria’s peak-level employers’ federation, the Wirtschaftskammer Österreich (WKÖ), stands out as an exception in this regard. The WKÖ takes relatively moderate positions on welfare state reform compared to employers’ federations in other European countries. This seminar discussed the reasons for this exceptionally moderate role of Austrian employers and suggests that the institutional setup of interest representation in Austria explains this stance better than alternative explanations. Read more

Presentation of the European Centre to delegates of the Flemish Parliament

At the invitation of the High Representative of the Flemish government in Austria, Pieter Vanhuysse presented the European Centre's range of activities to a large visiting delegation of the Commission for Foreign Policy, European Affairs and International Cooperation of the Flemish Parliament at the MUMOK in Vienna.

Policy Brief: Quota Systems for Disabled Persons: Parameters, Aspects, Effectivity


In his recent Policy Brief, Michael Fuchs analyses quota systems for private and/or public enterprises/institutions that exist in the majority of EU-countries. Their target is to stimulate labour demand by committing employers to employ a certain share of employees with disabilities. Typically, the stipulated share ranges between 2% and 7% of the workforce. In most countries the degree of fulfilment ranges between 30% and 70%. According to available empirical data, quota systems only lead to small net employment gains. While already employed persons who become disabled and can be included are more likely to be employed continuously, quotas only provide small incentives to hire disabled people. Read more

Review in Norwegian Journal of Social Research

Ageing Populations Cover

Pieter Vanhuysse's book Ageing Populations in Postindustrial Democracies with Achim Goerres has been reviewed in the Norwegian Journal of Social Research. Excerpt: ‘Will demographic change lead politicians (…) to push forward cuts in the generosity of public pensions, or do larger shares of grey voters constitute a political bloc that defends the status quo? And to what extent do political and economic institutions affect the choices of different countries in the face of demographic change? …Vanhuysse and Goerres have edited a useful, well-organized, and at times original book about the challenges and consequences of an aging population from a political science perspective. I can confidently recommend the book for anyone interested in comparative welfare research.’

Intergenerational justice study reported in OECD Insights and Huffington Post

Intergenerational Justice

Pieter Vanhuysse's study on intergenerational justice has been reported in an article focusing on the Nordic countries' sound performance by Mi Ah Shoyen and Bjorn Hvinden from NOVA Oslo in OECD Insights, and in an article focusing on Italy's bad performance by Marco Morosini from ETH Zürich in The Huffington Post Deutschland. On the performance of Austria, see European Centre Policy Brief.

Policy Brief: Social Reform Microsimulation (SORESI)

In Austria, the recent introduction of a new system of Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) of federal laws led to the development of the user-friendly microsimulation model SORESI. Responsible civil servants are able to manipulate monetary social benefits on a website and the model quickly calculates the outcomes on the income situation of the Europe 2020 social target group. At the same time the website can be used by the general public for other simulations and inquiries. This Policy Brief by Michael Fuchs and Katrin Gasior describes the most important features of the SORESI model and presents a policy reform example related to the increase of the family allowance. Read more