Tag Archives: social policy

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 : 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

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