The European Union is on the threshold of an important institutional transformation, as thirteen states are applying for membership: ten of them, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, will become a member by May 1st, 2004; two countries, Bulgaria and Romania, will follow some time later and Turkey is also given the perspective of accession in a later stage. Fears are often expressed as to the social impact the adhesion of these states may have upon both the European Unions social security policy and the social security systems of these states. We give a presentation of the social security systems of the applicant states in the same format as the one we used for our earlier descriptions of the national social security systems of the present fifteen member states (Nr. 1 of this Social Europe Series). This publication gives the reader an introduction into the social security systems of the thirteen applicant states. It offers the social security expert with some comparative experience the opportunity to position his/her knowledge of (aspects of) foreign social security systems within the broad national context of these systems; for others, this introduction will simplify first ventures into the field of comparative social security law. The publication also facilitates the broad comparison of the national systems, by describing them according to a uniform structure. For each country, the following aspects are examined: the concept and sources of social security law; the administrative organisation; the personal scope of application; the social risks and benefits (subdivided into old age, survivorship, incapacity for work, unemployment, health care and care, family and need); the way in which social security is financed and the judicial protection. By giving a systematised and short overview of all systems in the European Union, the book finally meets a need of many in and outside Europe.