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During the Social Mermaid Presidency : social services under pressure

8 Aug

European Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs discussed the situation of the social services in Europe during an informal meeting in Denmark. The 24th and 25th of April, the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised an informal meeting for the Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs. Hot topics were discussed on the first day of the meeting: crisis and the demographic challenge of the coming decades.

An exchange of view between Member States on ensuring a future supply of high quality social services for all citizens…

Several aspects of the situation of the social services were highlighted. Their crucial role  in times of economic recessions was particularly underlined, “as they continue to provide protection and services not only to the most vulnerable but to the whole population and they are regarded useful economic stabilisers helping to maintain supply capacity”.

If many speakers expressed the need of reforms and the willingness to make better use of existing solutions, the strategies presented were rather different depending on the Member States: develop stricter rules, fight against the fraud, invest for a better quality of services, increase of the use of European funds, improve the accessibility, use of welfare technologies …

In relative “practical” terms, some propositions emerged from the discussion to improve the collaboration at the European level on the social services: strengthen the use of the Voluntary European Quality Framework for Social Services, create an European system/agency to collect and diffuse the good practices and innovation projects, develop a better common understanding of tools to measure social returns on investment and social value or design an European legal framework that respect the characteristics and the objectives of the social services.

Oh Mermaid, your song is so beautiful…but is it understandable ?

Hot topic : To see the world in another way

25 May

Thomas and Fabrice Gabison Osinski are the  laureates of the latest Millenium Webdoc Meetings for “D’une rue à l’autre”, their web-documentary project  about post-apartheid in South Africa. Already authors of a first project called “127 rue de la Garenne“, the two French have made a prominent place on the transmedia  stage. They’ve invented a new form of writing by appealing to forms of storytelling that goes back from tapestry to comic strips, and adapting those to the web. 

“After World War II, France has called a lot of  foreign workers for rebuilding the country. Those people found themselves in hell and faced the administration but they still remained united and worthy.” Fabrice Osinski sets the scene for “127, rue de la Garenne”, one of the 500 shantytowns in France. We dive into the heart of the Paris region, in Nanterre, late 1960s.

Hot topic : “Quality is the most important value for us”

11 May

We met Sophie Berque during the Millenium Webdoc Meetings. Since October 2008, when she joined the New Media Department of the RTBF, she’s been responsible for providing web, mobile and digital media. In charge of  internal and external communications department, she is currently working on various projects to develop web content (web series, web-documentary, etc.). The launch of the first RTBF major transmedia project is scheduled for September 2012. She reveals the web approach of RTBF for today and tommorow and her feelings about the new media landscape.

Sophie, you were takling  about the project ” My Prince Charming “. Is  it the kind of policy that RTBF wants to implement: to discover the world of cross-media, still very new in Belgium?

“We thought about this project and developed it for nearly a year in business meetings, but the project is not yet complete. Hopefully, this is for September 2012, scheduled for a four months period. So yes, it is the wish of the interactive departement of RTBF. We want to approach the power of transmedia and develop as a public service project that brings together the different media of the RTBF to create a strike force and adhesion of public to this kind of interactive and participatory project.” Continue reading

Hot topic : “Internet is a tool that will change our civilization as much as the invention of writing”

10 May

Patric Jean is a belgian movie maker and producer (Black Moon Production). He’s famous for “Les enfants du Borinage – lettre à Henri Stock”, “La Raison du plus fort” and “a Domination masculine”. Very active in the trans media world, he’s presently working on web productions. This is a short interview conducted at the Millenium Webdoc Meetings:

The world of web-documentary is changing. Belgium is still a little behind its French neighbour, but do you feel that emulation is taking shape?

“The emulation of the creators, people who have desire is everywhere. It exists in all countries. In Belgium, there is a tradition of film directors, documentary filmmakers, creators, artists. The desire is there. The willingness to support him is not there yet. Generally, the press here and abroad doesn’t have any budget for this kind of expression. TVs have little money for such projects singular but have a lot to others who are much more popular form of mass audiences. This is an old story but even more acute in the new writing because it costs more. In fact, the digital cultures require us to make the same fee as for a classical production, but with the addition of new parameters. The budget is heavier. I can carry out the projects that I personally want to defend but I see many people in difficulties but who have very good ideas.” Continue reading

Hot topic : studying social services at EU level

30 Apr

Social services have been screened by a multidisciplinary team of researchers on the request and on behalf of the European Commission.

“STUDY ON SOCIAL SERVICES OF GENERAL INTEREST”

The title of the study took into account the notion of “Social services of general interest”, which is a euro-terminology to designate social security schemes and social services directly provided to the persons.

The aim of this study on social services of general interest is to describe the status quo of four types of social services (long-term care, childcare, social housing and employment services) as regards three main aspects: the applicable regulatory framework for service provision and financing, the types of service providers, and the main quality tools and frameworks. It also looks how these four types of social services have been affected by the current global economic downturn.” Continue reading

Hot topic : resocialising Europe… in London

20 Apr

A nice event will occur in the middle of May : a high level Conference on Social Europe in London.  At first sight I thought it was in Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium because the University there is also called UCL.

The level and the ambitious are quite impressive and I hope this will feed our discussions, and why not be the opportunity to have some interviews from some of these experts.

Terms such as ‘Social Europe’, the ‘European Social Dimension’, ‘European Social Model’, and, more recently, ‘European Social Pact’, have long resided in the political and regulatory lexicon of European integration. But arguably, after reaching a climax in 2000 with the inclusion of a ‘Solidarity’ chapter in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the social profile of the EU has entered a deep period of crisis, one may say a phase of ‘social eurosclerosis’, recently exacerbated by the political responses to the economic downturn and its severe consequences on social and labour standards across the EU. Continue reading

Hot topic : Where is the Solidar Power ?

4 Mar

More or less, Social services in Europe are characterised by solidarity.

One of the issue concerning Solidarity is that its nature is often related to a dichotomy between warm and cold solidarities.

Warm solidarity – always considered as « fun » – is related to the personal and direct engagement of the person and is implemented in direct actions : a donation, tutoring, … This solidarity could be considered as charity. Warm solidarity would be related to individual action. The warm solidarity is always considered as nice, a « free » engagement enabling creativity.

The cold solidarity is related to structural mechanisms put in place by the law and public authorities, such as social security and social assistance schemes. This kind of solidarity, where the action of people is less essential and where contributions are mandatory, is more often questioned because of a certain idea of freedom.

However at the very beginning, instruments of cold solidarity have been put in place thanks to free and historical choices, or in other words by warm solidarities.

One added value of the Webdoc would be to question the warm/cold dichotomy and why not to measure (but how…) the level of Solidarity everyone is confronted to because of interconnections between persons at a time when Mario Draghi announces the end of the European social model.

In Durkheim’s view on Mechanical and organic solidarity, the intensity and content of the conscience collective is also an important part of the nature of solidarity.

Imagine a web application calculating your Solidar Power and your knowledge of collective consciousness…

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