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July 28, 2011

For a month the Facebook wall of EP member Leonidas Donskis has become the stage for a discussion regarding one of the sorest Lithuanian problems – the system of the social security. With the aid of the field professional, head of Klaipėda social support centre, Daina Stankaitienė, Leonidas Donskis invited the visitors of the page to post their opinions regarding the fundaments, tasks and functions of the social security and suggest possible directions for Lithuania to develop within this field.The discussion titled ‘Social security system – a tool to give out benefits or decrease unemployment?’ has been the most popular amongst the visitors of the page and corroborated the claim that the social security is important to a great majority.

Mrs Stankaitienė opened the discussion with a claim that Lithuanian social security simply devours the state’s money and functions solely as the supplier of benefits. The aim of all the effort, human, institutional and financial resources is orientated to give out the means to those who have difficulty supporting themselves and require social benefits. Such situation puts the country in the position where a significant part of the workforce chooses to live on benefits rather than support themselves. Such logic of the social politics puts the weight on the shoulders of those generating the profit. As an alternative, Mrs Stankaitienė presented a liberal model of social politics with the main purpose to provide those most socially vulnerable with the means to earn for themselves and decrease the time when they rely on the social benefits.

One of the participants of the discussion drew a graphical parallel describing the situation by comparing it with a well-known proverb: “Instead of giving one a fish, teach the person to fish”.  According to him, there are so many people accustomed to getting a fish and the custom has the roots so deep that it is almost impossible to perceive any change within the social system. Many of the participants also named the soviet legacy as one of the negative influences to the prevailing passivity and dependence on the state.

Another problem emphasized by those interested in the social politics touched upon the wish of the local politicians to employ the social politics and make promises that are often unrealistic in order to win over the electorate.  “In our district a promise of a higher pension rate is often enough to win over a voter” claims one of the visitors of the page. “In order to broaden the electorate the politicians are ready to change and adapt their political programmes offering attractive yet rather unrealistic solutions to the social problems of the potential voters. As long as the politicians exploit the social issues as the means to gain political influence, it is hard to expect positive developments within the field of social securities system” adds another participant of the discussion.

On the other hand, the need for the social equality and solidarity was not forgotten in the discussion, as “constant fierce competition and innate lack or advantage will not buy a yacht for every single one.” According to Diana Stankaitienė the main task of social politics is to help those who are truly in need, for instance, experience a job loss due to a serious illness or injury. What is more, it should help to ensure the conditions for healty and dignified retirement. By no means should social politics be executed in such a way that discriminates or causes conflicts among the social groups by making ones more socially responsible than others. Mrs Stankaitienė supports the necessity to promote social solidarity, however, encourages to design new methods to reach the goal. She claims that social solidarity does not necessarily require the workman to share with the deprived, there is an alternative of building and developing civil, charity organizations as well strong-based communities to bring the equality to the people.

  April 2018  
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What do you think?
Which of the activities of L. Donskis at the European Parliament proved to be the most effective?
Activities in the field of human rights
Work with Eastern Partnership and post-Soviet countries
Support of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU

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