Social Security in Europe: Warnings & Examples

Successful social security assures successful economy of a nation. West Germany’s economic miracle of the 1960s was, mainly, due to the successful implementation of social security measures.

Some interesting facts pertaining to the 1990s that highlight the important role played by social security measures in Europe and the manner in which the benefits are utilized or misused are given in this article. The relevant snippets are also made available as image files.

East Europe: 1994

Romania:

The dispensary conditions are not conducive and are very unhygienic.

Government was not ready to spend on hospitals and medicine, as they were “not productive”.

Financially strapped governments had neglected health care and this resulted in unprecedented crisis.

Health situation was so bad in much of Eastern Europe that it was beginning to affect the ability of some countries to compete effectively on the world market.

Patients bring basic medical equipments to the hospitals.

Bribe in single case is much more than salary.

Doctors must cope with run-down equipment.

Czech:

Attempts were made to change the medical system from communist model. But, it was basically free, in the communist era. One had only to bribe which was not more than a box of chocolates or flowers.

Poland:

The director of the hospital threatened that he would close it, as there was no essential facility to treat patients.

Doctors who treat patients privately get them operated in State hospitals and do not pay for the service and equipment.

Eastern Europe:

Entitlement of the people to wide range of medical services that was available in the communist era had begun to diminish and got eroded.

State-run medical institutions paid doctors less than bus drivers.

(Refer to the uploaded article, ‘Creaking Health Care’ –The Hindu: 3.12.1994)

West Europe: 1996

Social Security costs became enormous and the E.U. government exchequers were bleeding, because of unemployment benefits.

The reason was that because of the high economic growth and the generous social security benefits, the West European workers began to imagine that their services were costlier and starting demanding very heavy amount as wages.

The European goods had, thus, lost competitive edge.

Employers and Trade Unions could not agree on terms of revival.

West European manufacturers shifted their factories to east Europe.

Social security system encourages workers with less talent and large families to remain unemployed and live off social security hand-outs.

Foreign workers are seen as blocking jobs for indigenous workers.

High taxation affects the workers and they do not have access to common luxuries.

In smaller economies people set up their own businesses.

“Germany’s entry into the United States system of hire and fire” is described “as socially obscene”.

( Refer to the uploaded article ‘Germany, Belgium resist ‘Alliance for Jobs’ –The Hindu: 2.5.1996 )

2007

Malingering in Temporary Disablement Benefit in Germany.

One has to see to believe it.

( Refer to the uploaded news item with photo in the Times of India: 20.1.2007 )

This, in a country where the general level of honesty is admirable, as could be from one incident cited by Mr. Rahul Singh in the Outlook 27.08.2001.

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