EU countries on Friday rejected a giant package of changes to rules on the coordination of social security systems, as wealthy nations balked at a proposal that would increase their responsibility for paying unemployment benefits to workers who commute from abroad.

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 In 2017, total government expenditure in the European Union (EU) amounted to 45.8% of gross domestic product (GDP). This share has steadily decreased since 2012, when it stood at 48.9% of GDP. Social protection represented the most important area of general government expenditure in 2017 in all EU Member States. The ratio of government social protection expenditure to GDP varied across EU Member States from less than 10% in Ireland (9.5%) to nearly a quarter in Finland (24.9%).

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An agreement on modernised rules to coordinate national social security systems was reached by Employment Committee negotiators and EU ministers on Tuesday. The new rules focus on facilitating labour mobility within the EU, while safeguarding workers’ social rights in cross-border situations, by determining under which country’s system a person is insured (i.e.

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On 20 February, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted the opinion "For a European Framework directive on a Minimum Income" in which it asked the European Commission to introduce a binding EU framework establishing an adequate minimum income across Europe, tailored to the standard of living in each Member State.

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Social protection expenditure in the European Union (EU) stood at 28.2 per cent of GDP in 2016, slightly down compared with 28.4 per cent in 2015, according to new data from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In 2016, the two main sources of funding of social protection at EU level were social contributions, making up 55 per cent of total receipts, and general government contributions from taxes at 40 per cent.

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The Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) has adopted new rules to protect social security for mobile workers. The rules, which were approved by EMPL yesterday, protect fair access to social security for mobile workers who have to cross intra-EU borders, while distributing obligations fairly between Member States. Provisions are put in place to promote cooperation between Member States, ensuring information can be shared between them in order to guarantee employees’ access to social security and prevent fraud.

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On 17 November the European Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, a document welcomed by 

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The Commission has launched today the second round of discussions with trade unions and employers' organisations at the EU level, on how to support access to social protection for all people in employment and in self-employment.

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Social Policy Research Institute, SPRI Global

SPRI stands for research, research-based advisory- and capacity building- services.The core areas in SPRI’s global research agenda encompass:

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Real progress to eradicate poverty and promote social justice for all is within the grasp of the EU, but it will take ambitious political commitment at November’s Social Summit to make gains in reaching a truly social Europe, explain Jana Hainsworth and Luis Alvarado Martinez.

Jana Hainsworth is president of Social Platform and Luis Alvarado Martinez is president of the European Youth Forum.

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