The Code aims at encouraging the development of social security in all member States of the Council of Europe in order that they may gradually reach the highest level possible. The Code fixes a series of standards which Parties undertake to include in their social security systems.
The Code defines norms for social security coverage and establishes minimum levels of protection which Parties must provide in such areas as medical care, sickness benefits, unemployment benefit, old-age benefits, employment injury benefits, family benefits, maternity benefits, invalidity benefits, survivors' benefits, etc.
The Protocol (ETS No. 48A), opened for signature by the member States, in Strasbourg, on 16 April 1964, and entered into force on 17 March 1968, contains provisions allowing Parties to achieve a higher level of social security than that provided for in the provisions of the Code.