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.


Symposium and 40th General Assembly Meeting

On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the European Centre organises a Symposium on “The Future of Welfare in a Global Europe, in Vienna on 15 September. Speakers from the worlds of academia and politics will present on the following four themes: Towards a Human Investment Society; Class, Generation, Gender, and Age Cleavages in Ageing Societies; Too Sick to Work – and too Ill to Live Independently? Disability, Frailty – and Happiness – in Stressful and Long-Life Societies; No “European Social Model” in Europe – or towards a Social Union? A “Ministerial Roundtable” will discuss the expert views presented, under the heading “Europe in the World, Austria in Europe”.

Methodological development of the interactive INTERLINKS Framework for long-term care

The FP7 project INTERLINKS, coordinated by the European Centre, has made a significant contribution to knowledge about emerging long-term care systems in Europe: through the accumulation of policy and practice examples on an interactive web-based Framework for long-term care. This paper by Jenny Billings (Kent University) and Kai Leichsenring, published by the International Journal of Integrated Care, provides a critical overview of the theoretical and methodological approaches used to develop and implement the INTERLINKS Framework for long-term care. It concludes that robust evidence and comparability across European countries remain problematic due to the current and growing complexity and diversity of long-term care policies.

New book: Welfare in an Idle Society


A Primer on Re-Designing Social Security to Cope with Global Ageing and 21st Century Pension Future: Austria as a Case in Point.
„With his Welfare in an Idle Society? Bernd Marin has set a ‘gold standard’. Congratulations! Nobody who will give new thoughts to re-designing Social Security can go past this encyclopaedic opus.“ Bert Rürup For more information see the book's website

Czech Sociological Review books: Welfare in an Idle Society?, Youth Studies, The Caring Self


The summer 2014 issue of the Czech Sociological Review, the number one CEE sociology journal (impact factor 0.652), edited by Pieter Vanhuysse, features reviews written by Akos Rona-Tas (UC San Diego), Conor O’Dwyer (University of Florida), Josef Melchior (University of Vienna), Peggy Watson (University of Cambridge), Keith Tester (University of Hull), Andras Bozoki (CEU) and others on altogether ten books in sociology and social policy, including Bernd Marin’s Welfare in an Idle Society?. It also features a review by Katrin Gasior on Andy Furlong’s Youth Studies and by Ricardo Rodrigues on Clare Stacey’s The Caring Self.

Life Cycle Transitions and Vulnerabilities in Old Age: A Review

In his paper written for the 2014 Human Development Report, Senior Advisor Asghar Zaidi reviews the concepts of vulnerability and resilience, and their applications for ageing and older people, demonstrating how policy interventions throughout the life course must aim to not just reduce vulnerabilities to risks but also boost the personal coping capacities (or resilience) of people moving into old age. The paper points to the long-term impact of transitions (such as the onset of disability or the death of spouse) and life course experiences (such as work and family history) on three key components of the quality of life and well-being of older persons: financial well-being, health, and social support and connectedness. Read More

‘Make or Buy’ residential care? The outcomes for quality of care in nursing homes

Longevity has become a central topic in many countries as health and care expenditure increases with rising life expectancy. Governments aim to reduce costs by outsourcing care services to for-profit providers. Given the high complexity of long-term care, quality is a major concern for policy-makers and researchers. At the 10th World Congress in Health Economics (iHEA/ECHE) entitled 'Health Economics in the Age of Longevity' Juliane Winkelmann presented together with Ricardo Rodrigues and Kai Leichsenring results of a literature review on the relationship of nursing home ownership and quality of care, financed by the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. It reveals that most studies have mixed and inconclusive findings on the quality differences between nursing homes and outcomes heavily depend on the choice of indicators.

International stakeholder perspectives on the Optimum Continence Service Specification

During the last Global Forum on Incontinence stakeholders from across the world discussed on the current barriers to better continence care and the applicability and implementation of the recommendations of the Optimum Continence Service Specification in their respective countries. A Summary Report of these discussions is now available here to contribute to further dialogue in order to improve the quality of life, the delivery of services and the overall organisation of continence care across the world. Contact: Kai Leichsenring

Contracting for integrated care provision

The Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent has invited Ricardo Rodrigues and Kai Leichsenring to participate in the validation of a contracting model blueprint for long-term conditions that is focused on integrated care, and based on achievable joint outcomes evidence and effectiveness in a whole system perspective. Results of the project will be published in autumn 2014 and will contain important hints for policy-makers how to design contracts for an integrated provision of long-term care.

Oxford Conference on ‘Pre-Distributive Social Policy’

Pieter Vanhuysse presented on the politics of justice in aging societies at St Catherine’s College, Oxford during the workshop on ‘Pre-Distributive Social Policy: Future Changes in Welfare Societies’. Organized by the Policy Network, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, and the Renner Institut, this workshop brought together scholars such as Peter Hall, Julian Legrand, David Sockice, John Stephens, Paul Gregg, Bruno Palier, Ann Wren, and Marius Busemeyer to discuss the role of regulation, asset-based welfare, movements and skills for a future vision of progressive social policy.

Portability of Pensions and Health Insurance

Michael Fuchs participated in the FISS (Foundation for International Studies of Social Security) 2014 conference in Sigtuna/SE held from 2 to 4 June 2014. He presented a joint paper with Juliane Winkelmann on the portability of pensions and health insurance for pensioners between Germany and Turkey. The slides can be downloaded here. Furthermore, an article on the portability of pensions and health insurance for pensioners between Austria and Turkey was published: Fuchs M., Jenseits des Gastarbeiterabkommens -- Portabilität von Pensionen und Krankenversicherung für Pensionisten zwischen Österreich und der Türkei, in: Soziale Sicherheit 6/2014, 288-295.

ESRC Research Methods Festival, 8-10 July, St Catherine’s College, Oxford

Professor Bernd Marin participated in the session on cross-national research at the ESRC Research Methods Festival with a presentation on ‘Key Social Policy Challenges Identified from Cross-National Research in UN-European Countries’. This session, convened by Professor Asghar Zaidi, offers presentations from major international organisations (namely the UN, the European Commission, the European Centre Vienna, HelpAge International), and draws on their substantive cross-national research. The presentations highlight the benefits and limitations of comparative research methods. They also discuss how the key challenges of diversity in norms and contexts across nations and lack of international comparability of data are dealt with, and what challenges still remain unresolved (or partly resolved) that inhibit reaping full benefits of the comparative research.

Welfare in an Idle Society? Seminar at the University of Southampton, 3 July

The modern welfare state is indeed one of the greatest achievements of the post-war 20th century. It aims at maintaining a delicate equilibrium between dependent social groups, on the one hand, and the active working classes, on the other. As regards old-age security, this balance is being achieved (or not) by the so-called Generation Contract. This social pact is more of an implicit, unwritten and unspecified social contract. The seminar given by Bernd Marin will present the findings of his groundbreaking book, “Welfare in an Idle Society? Reinventing Retirement, Work, Wealth, Health and Welfare”, that demonstrates how countries are addressing population-ageing challenges in depth, using the case-study of Austria to gain the required complexity and differentiation in a comparative European framework of empirical evidence.

Monthly Forum lecture at the European Trade Union Institute


Pieter Vanhuysse presented the Monthly Forum lecture at the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels, which is the independent research and training centre of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) which itself affiliates European trade unions into a single European umbrella organisation. Presided by ETUI General Director Phillippe Pochet, Pieter's lecture on 'The Left at Work - Why Do Unions, More Than Leftwing Parties, Today Promote Activation Policies?' summarized findings from his June 2014 Policy Brief and his Political Studies article on 'Parties, Unions, and Activation Strategies'

Keynote address, Lisbon Conference on Intergenerational justice


Pieter Vanhuysse gave a keynote address per videoconference to the University of Lisbon's Conference on Intergenerational Justice: The Future of Law and the Law of the Future, supported by the Portuguese Parliament, the Portuguese Ombudsman, the Portuguese representation of UNESCO, the Portuguese National Youth Council, the Intergenerational Foundation (UK), the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (Germany), and the Conference “Model Institutions for a Sustainable Future” (Hungary). A statement of support was given by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Promoting the Employment of People with Disabilities – A Shared Responsibility

The persistently low labour force participation of people with disabilities is a substantial public and policy concern in many European countries. In a conference organised by the Slovakian Institute for Labour and Family Research in Bratislava, ways of providing better support and services for people with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment were explored both in the European and Slovakian context. The need for more cross-sectoral and inter-agency collaboration was highlighted in a panel discussion, in which Eszter Zolyomi took part together with representatives from Slovakian ministries, employment services and NGOs.

30 Jahre Internationale Sommergespräche der Waldviertel Akademie "Lebenswerte (der) Heimat"


Die Waldviertel Akademie beschäftigt sich im Jubiläumsjahr gemeinsam mit Experten wie Erhard Busek oder Bernd Marin mit dem Thema "Lebenswerte (der) Heimat". Ein Jubiläum begeht die Waldviertel Akademie mit ihren Internationalen Sommergesprächen, die im August zum 30. Mal über die Bühne gehen. Das Jubiläumsjahr widmet sich ganz Europa und dem Waldviertel, die Akademie kann dabei eine Reihe hochkarätiger Experten wie Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi, Bernd Marin, Erhard Busek, Peter Kampits, Stephan Schulmeister oder Robert Palfrader präsentieren. Für Weiteres hier klicken

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