Social Security and the European Union

Jean‐Pierre Laborde (Professor, University Montesquieu, Bordeaux IV)

Managerial Law

ISSN: 0309-0558

Publication date: 1 December 2005


The impact of the European Union on Social Security is quite complex and enigmatic. At the starting point, there is a genuine paradox: whereas the construction of a large and unique market supposes, among many others prerequisites, the harmonization of social security systems, this harmonization is left to the good will of the member States since Social security is not truly within the competence of the Union. In these conditions, it is quite obvious that a thought and organised harmonisation is absolutely unreachable. So we have yet very different systems from a State to an other and even the typology is very discouraging with at least four families of systems. As for the article 137 of the EC Treaty, which allows the European bodies to harmonize the different Social security legislations, without being completely vacuous, is extremely limited in its real reach by the rule of unanimity.



Laborde, J. (2005), "Social Security and the European Union", Managerial Law, Vol. 47 No. 6, pp. 59-67.

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