Despite the recognition of the essential role of social and health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine international armed conflict the 2023 State of the European Union speech fails to address the specific needs of the social services sector with regards to employment, funding and investment all of which are crucial to meet the needs of the most disadvantaged communities in the EU.
Social Service Europe recognises that quite some progress has been made with the European Care Strategy and the Social Economy Action Plan and the forthcoming Council Recommendation on developing social economy framework conditions. SSE also has welcomed other recent initiatives, e.g., the Council Recommendation on adequate minimum income schemes, the Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages, the Social Climate Fund and the European Year of Skills. But this is not enough.
More needs to be invested by the EU and Member States if millions of European citizens are to have accessible, affordable and quality social services, health care, housing and employment support. We urge the EC to present in the months and years to come a stronger and more comprehensive social response. This concerns three fields of key importance for our members and for the users of the social services: 1) social protection, 2) social services and 3) barriers to social inclusion.