By: Bastiaan Didden

Future (resistant) social security – action required?




Two reports on the future of social security were presented in February and April 2024. Given the socio-economic and political developments in Europe, the question of what our social security will look like is becoming increasingly important.  On 29 February 2024, the conference ‘Future-proof social security from an international perspective’ was organised by the SVB (Social Insurance Bank). During this conference, the report ‘Living and Working Tomorrow (2035): Challenges for Social Security (Administrations)’ was presented.[1] More recently, in April 2024, the report of the International Social Security Association was presented.

The former report was written by the European Institute of Social Security and KU Leuven’s European Social Security Research Unit. This report identifies 11 challenges and developments that have an impact on social security systems and thus that social security authorities will have to deal with in the future. [2]

One of the identified challenges is the way of financing a social security system. It can be established that there is no longer so much a single labour income as multiple incomes (whether work-related or not and from various forms of work: as an employee, platform worker[3] or self-employed. Should we arrive at labour form neutrality?). One of the questions then raised is whether these other forms of income should not also become the basis for funding social security. As a possible solution/end condition, it is mentioned that better cooperation should take place between social security authorities and tax authorities, as the latter have a better (insight) into other sources of income that could possibly serve as a basis.

A link can also be made with ITEM’s (research) focus. For instance, according to the report, better cooperation is also necessary in cross-border situations, think of a more adequate exchange of information between social security authorities. Here, reference can also be made to another identified development: work is more often done in another EU member state, raising the question whether the designation rules of the applicable social security system are still adequate.

The International Social Security Association report: ‘Social security developments and trends – Europe 2024’ also describes several (somewhat similar) developments and trends facing national social security systems in Europe.[4] These include social security coverage, but also social/financial protection in the event of a ‘life changing event’. Interestingly, an attempt was made to depict this graphically using ‘facts and trends’.

Both reports are very worth reading and provide food for thought. It is therefore now up to policymakers to take further action towards future-proof social security.


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[1] This report can be accessed at:

[2] For an overview at a glance of these eleven challenges:

[3] In this context, see also: S. Montebovi & M.J.G.A.M. Weerepas, ‘TOR Cross-Border Impact Assessment 2022: Dossier 2: Social Security: Frontier Effects of the EU Proposal for a Directive on Platform Workers (ex ante)’, Maastricht: ITEM, available at:

[4] Available at: