European countries introduced the concept of social protection of survivors, primarily spouses and children, in their respective legislations back in the 19th century. Since its introduction, the concept has undergone significant changes in the majority of EU Member States. This paper will provide an overview of the concept of social security survivors benefits, with the main focus on the survivors benefits for surviving spouse in the European Union, and in particular on the differences in regulation of this concept in Western European and the Eastern European countries. The author of this paper will endeavour to point out the ways the survivors benefits follow, and to establish whether this form of social security will survive in the future, in spite of the numerous changes Europe witnesses. The paper offers a comparison among three different systems of social protection for surviving spouse in the European Union, as follows: (i) the Scandinavian concept, (ii) the Western European concept and (iii) the Eastern European concept. Finally, on the basis of the characteristics of these three models and a comparative analysis of their effects, this paper will try to propose grounds of new European model for the social protection of surviving spouse.
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