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Press Release 

Brussels, 24th April 2018

“After ten years of underinvestment it seems that 'social' is back! We should use the momentum created by the Pillar o push for a more social agenda" Luk Zelderloo, President of Social Services Europe

On the 24th of April, Social Services Europe presented its position paper on the key role social services play in the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in the European Parliament. In a productive discussion with MEPs and EP staff, Commission representatives, the Social Protection Committee and civil society, Social Services Europe explained how social services contribute to upholding at least 10 of the social rights in the EPSR and presented recommendations on how services should be supported to play this role.

Why are social services key in the Pillar’s implementation, key figures:

- Together with the health sector, social services employ about 11 % of the work force in the EU
- Investment in social services has not increased during the past 10 years, but to implement the Pillar investment in social services is crucial
- Demographic changes and ageing in society are challenges faced by Europe that need to be tackled now: action needs to be taken to promote the attractiveness of the sector for young people starting their career and to increase overall quality of services

This event underlined important topics in a growing Social Europe: what's the role of social services in implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and what can be done to guarantee quality social services that allow citizens across Europe to fully enjoy those rights. 

Social Services Europe released its position paper with an event in the European Parliament. Hosted by MEP Georgi Pirinski (MEP; S&D) and with the participation of Sofia Ribeiro (MEP; EPP) Ruth Paserman (Deputy Head of Cabinet, DG EMPL, European Commission) and Rudi Van Dam (Chair of the Indicators Sub-Group, Social Protection Committee) the debate addressed some key challenges and made concrete proposals on how social services can help to implement the EPSR. 

During the event, president of Social Services Europe and secretary-general of EASPD, Luk Zelderloo reinforced that the EPSR will only work if it works for the citizens, and that means taking action: "We shouldn't hide our head in the sand; we should clarify our role as social service providers in the Pillar." 
Indeed, ten out of the twenty principles of the Pillar directly link to social services and "[...] implementation is key. These twenty principles are statements of huge ambition" said Heather Roy (Eurodiaconia) "We need to move out of the hierarchical thinking that economic stability policies come first and then social policies and understand that those are essential for a stable economy (...) Social services are needed by each one of us at different stages of our lives’".

All of this is not possible without the correct financial and context support - thus the essential value of national policies for the concrete implementation of these rights. With this, Conny Reuter (SOLIDAR) concluded the meeting stating "There's consensus in this [meeting] room on the importance of social services in implementing the Pillar, but we need to take this conclusion outside, which is not always easy, and mobilised at national, regional and local level".

The implementation of the EPSR calls upon enabling legal and financial frameworks where adequate resources match the needs and ambition within the Pillar, making more relevant than ever the demand for enhanced social investment. This will ensure the right volumes and quality of resources needed to secure sustainable provision of quality services ahead of structural societal challenges such as ageing or evolving family patterns which result in increased care demands that require, in particular, the recruitment and retention of quality staff that fulfills the sector’s proven potential to create jobs.
Proclaimed in the Gothenburg Social Summit last November, the European Pillar of Social Rights represents a solid and important basis for a more social Europe. It has the potential to improve social protection systems across Europe if its principles are observed at European level and implemented at national level. 

Since the launch of a proposal for a EPSR, Social Services Europe (SSE) has been committed to informing and engaging its member organizations at national and local levels, identifying the unique opportunity represented by the Pillar to make Europe more social.

Social Services Europe are happy to share with you our position paper, that you can read clicking in the box below.


For further information on the topic and Social Services Europe, please contact:

Sandra Lima
Coordinator of Social Services Europe
Tel: +32 2 233 77 23

Read the minutes here
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