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.


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.

Medical Doctors on the Move – Implications for Mobility in Europe

Clinical Medicine

The current proposals to update the European Union (EU) directive on professional qualifications have important implications for health professions. A recent paper published in the journal Clinical Medicine, co-authored by Andrea E. Schmidt (with colleagues from Semelweis University, Hungary, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK), highlights the challenges in the context of free movement of professionals and increasing mobility. National contexts in which systems of licensing and registration of doctors in Europe have developed, are still highly influential. Seven areas of concern are identified in which improvements could be achieved, such as the role of language assessments, transparency of governance, and a ‘red card’ for doctors that have been barred from the profession.

“Make or buy?” - Long-term care services in Sweden: Lessons for policy

Quasi-markets‘ have been introduced in long-term care in a number of European countries amidst a strong debate. In this context, the European Centre has been commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs to analyse the Make or Buy decision in long-term care. The research focused on: what economic theory tells us about how to develop effective policies in this area; what can we learn from the experience of quasi-markets in other countries (England, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands); how ownership affects quality; and how to assess quality in long-term care. The report is now available for download and three European Centre Policy Briefs will be published from September onwards. Read more

Cuts on Healthcare Spending in Portugal: Resilience amidst Difficulties in Accessing Services


This Report by Ricardo Rodrigues and Katharine Schulmann examines the effects of public spending cuts on healthcare implemented in the wake of the crisis in Portugal. It includes a detailed analysis of the cuts and their consequences in terms of access to care, as well as case studies on the impact of the measures and mitigating efforts on three healthcare providers on the ground. This is part of wider research carried out at the European Centre on the topic of the crisis and access to healthcare. The report on Portugal is meant as an input for Eurofound’s forthcoming Report on “Access to Healthcare in Times of Crisis” due to be published in autumn 2014. Read more.
The opinions expressed in this report on Portugal are those of the authors only and do not represent Eurofound’s official position. Download report here.

New Policy Brief: Workers’ Worries and Labour Market Policies

This Policy Brief by Pieter Vanhuysse summarizes the latest evidence on active labour market policy (ALMP) spending and Employment Protection Legislation in OECD countries. It then summarizes theoretical findings from Tepe & Vanhuysse 2013 and argues that unions but not left-wing parties today increasingly take into account the re-employability worries of their members and have therefore adopted ALMPs as a second-best priority. Read more.

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

‘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.

Article in Der Standard, TV interview in ORF ZIB.

Pieter Vanhuysse was interviewed by the ORF's Zeit im Bild TV news, and featured in a front page article of Der Standard on intergenerational equity in Austria, as part of a special section on inequality.

IBM International Social Sector Forum 2014


Pieter Vanhuysse gave a presentation in the session on 'Engaging and Supporting Citizens' during IBM's International Social Sector Forum 2014, which this year was held in Vienna on the theme 'Charting a New Course – Imperatives for Social Security'. Together with the OECD (Herwig Immervoll), the European Centre was the only research institute to present at the forum.

International Seminar: Warfare and the Welfare State


Prof Herbert Obinger (University of Bremen) gave an internaitonal seminar where he asked whether and how warfare has influenced the development of advanced Western welfare states. He outlined an agenda for a comparative analysis of the warfare - welfare state nexus. By distinguishing between three different phases (war preparation, warfare, and post-war period) he provided an overview of possible causal mechanisms linking war and the welfare state and provides preliminary empirical evidence for war waging, occupied and neutral countries from the 1860s to the 1960s. For more information click here.

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