• Our work

    Eurodiaconia links diaconal actors to examine social needs, develop ideas and influence policies impacting Poverty and Social Exclusion, Social and Health Care Services and the Future of Social Europe.

    Eurodiaconia also provides a platform for transnational networking and best practice sharing.  

     

  • Our vision

    As the leading network for diaconal work in Europe, we look to develop dialogue and partnership between members and influence and engage with the wider society.  We do this to enable inclusion, care and empowerment of the most vulnerable and excluded and ensure dignity for all.

     

  • Our goals

    We aim to see a positive social change in Europe through:

    Praxis, enabling membership engagement and partnerships

    Advocacy, creating a network of competence to impact policies at European and national level

    Identity and values, supporting the development of approaches and thinking on Diaconia in Europe today

     

Calendar Saturday, April 18, 2015
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

This Week

26 September 2014

"The EU seems much closer to us now we have been here" was a comment from one of the 36 deacons from the Church of Sweden who had a study visit to Brussels this week.  They had a very intense few days, meeting with the Swedish Permanent Representation, meeting four MEP's and with the European Economic and Social Committee as well as lots of input from Eurodiaconia staff and partners.  The aim of the visit was to find out about european policies and how to be more engaged at national, regional and local level.  Migration policies, poverty and social exclusion and use of the structural funds were particular concerns as were developing the social economy.  Cecilia Wikstrom MEP encouraged all our guests to use their local experience to campaign for change at European level and ensure that Europe is a union of justice, equality and rights.  

Such study visits are hugely important for building capacity in our membership on European policy but also invaluable for us in the secretariat to understand the differences in perception of the EU at national, regional and local level.  When we understand this we can adapt our work to make it relevant for our members in all countries and hopefully that leads to more engagement.

Engagement was also the keyword at our second big event of this week, our Europe 2020 seminar.  Focusing on the the mid term review of the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth we have been looking at how the strategy can be more effective at national and EU level and how our members can continue to be involved in the process.  Involvement means building our capacity as partners at national and European level but it also means pushing for a structured approach to stakeholder involvement at national level.  Our members have been very clear - they want to be involved and some are involved but sometimes the process does not encourage such involvement.

So it has been another busy week here at Eurodiaconia but one where bringing the EU and our members closer together has been our theme and we hope, in time, our success.

Have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Getting ReDi for Research

19 September 2014

Hello this week from Stockholm!  Theresa, Jarmo and I are attending the 5th Biennial International Research Conference on Diaconia and Christian Social Practice.  The conference is organised by the International Society for Research in Diaconia and Christian Social Practice, otherwise known as ReDi.  ReDi was founded two years ago and Eurodiaconia is part of the Board of the society and hosts the secretariat.  It is a growing society and our interest is to bring practitioners and researchers together to support the development and analysis of relevant and quality social services and social justice actions.

Eurodiaconia has been actively participating in the conference, running a workshop with members from Diakonie Austria, Johanniter Austria and Church City Mission Oslo, looking at how to develop a research working group in Eurodiaconia to support both policy and practice work.  There is much interest in this area and if this is something that would interest your organisation please get intouch with Theresa in our office.  I also had the possibiity to address the conference last night on the current social situation in Europe, the link to services and advocacy and the opportunities for research.  What was really encouraging was the interest in developing work around social impact assesment and the implications of a social investment policy approach.  We will be following these up in the coming weeks.  Finally, Jarmo will be trying to bring all the various discussions together in the closing session on Saturday.

Developing research is key for developing diaconia in Europe.  We need to work together, academics and practitioners, to systemize our approaches and work on research that supports systematic change in social policies.  We are ReDi!

Have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Asking the Questions....

11 September 2014

As I mentioned in last weeks' editorial this week we had a round table in the European Parliament to see how to develop partnership in combatting poverty and social exclusion across Europe. We were delighted that nearly 70 people, including a large number of MEP's and their advisors, came to this meeting and committed themselves to work with Eurodiaconia in finding new approaches to ensure social well being. We also had members present from Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Salvation Army Europe.  We talked about the need to engage with the economic discussions as well as the social policy discussions and the need to ensure that we do not forget aspects of rights. It is of course easy to say all of this but what we really need to see is action from both the European Parliament and the European Commission.  

The President - elect of the European Commission this week announced the composition of the college of Commissioners and their portfolios. It is this European Commission that will need to increase their commitment to balancing social and economic policies to ensure the development of both human and economic capital. I am hopeful about the initial statements and mission coming from the new Commission but I think there are some hard questions that need to be asked and answered:

1. The previous Commission committed itself and Member States to reducing poverty and social exclusion by 20 million people by 2020. However, we are collectively off-track in achieving this target and instead are seeing an increase in poverty in some Member States.   What will change in the approach to addressing poverty and social exclusion so that the target can be reached as planned by 2020?

2. The European Semester was designed as an instrument to help govern and guide the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy. However its focus has mainly been on the short term and on macro-economic and fiscal governance rather that the Europe 2020 vision of Smart, Sustainable Inclusive Growth or the attainment of the agreed targets.   How will the  European Semester be developed so that all the targets are met and that contradictions with economic governance are removed?

3. The outgoing Commission adopted the Social Investment Package, which provided policy guidance to Member States on the value of investing in social policies as a measure to ensure social cohesion and support growth and competiveness.  However such an approach is still lacking in the policies of the European Commission and in many Member States.  How will the social investement agenda which supports the development of social and health care service among others be promoted by the new Commission?

We have asked MEP's to ask these questions and we will be contacting Commissioners directly for their responses as well - perhaps you can do the same in your network?

One thing we do know for the new term is that we need to provide more evidence of the imapct of our intervetions and justification through data of the value of social investment.  That is why I am very excited about the 4th Biennial International Conference on Research on Diaconia and Christian Social Practice which will be held in Stockholm next week.  For the first time Eurodiaconia will be working with researchers and practitioners to develop a model for evidence based social service/policy interventions for use in Diaconia and we will also be developing our co-operation with three academic institutes to support wider publication of data and research gathered in our network.  Watch this space for an update on how our research activities are developing.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 

 
We're Back!

4 September 2014

Hello and we hope you have had a good summer!  This week we are all back in the Eurodiaconia office and gearing up for a busy autumn.  In the next few days we will have a breakfast meeting in the European Parliament, hosted by five of the political groups, to present Eurodiaconia's key themes on how poverty and social exclusion can be addressed in Europe and in particular, how the European Parliament can be more active in calling for greater social and economic justice.  

Next week we will also hold a meeting in Sweden where we will look at how to develop employment in the social and health care sector, particularly in terms of skills and training and looking at how to make the sector more attractive as a career path.  We are partnering with Bracke Diaconia who are hosting this event and with Diakonie Deutschland and we hope that this could be the launch of a longer term project on this crucial topic.

Towards the end of the month we will have our annual seminar on the Europe 2020 strategy and the process of the European Semester.  It is particularly relevant this year as we are developing our contribution to the mid term review of the strategy.  If you are not already signed up please do so in the coming days!

We are also launching our research project on the financing of social services in the coming weeks as well as our research on the accessibility of social services for migrants so if you are a member please watch out for more news on how you can be involved in both these projects.

There is also a lot happening in Brussels.  We are still waiting for confirmation of the new European Commission and the European Parliament is now pretty much organised in terms of committees and groups.  We have been working with many of you to link with your MEP's and have also been working with the new parliament on framing questions to the new Commissioners in their parliament hearings later this month.  Watch this space for more information on that.

So, lots happening and lots to do but as ever, lots to gain for a more just, fair and equitable Europe.

have a great weekend

Heather

 

 

 
Last E-news before the summer break

This was the last busy week in Brussels before the summer as the European Parliament will now break for a five week holidays resuming on 1st September. In the office the team has been working on Eurodiaconia’s midyear report for Progress as well as preparing our forthcoming activities such as the Joint Network Meetings on Long Term Care and Employment in Diaconia (10-12 September, Gothenburg, Sweden) and the Europe 2020 Mid Term review: What track record, what opportunities? (25-26 September, Brussels). There are still some spaces available to participate so if you or one of your colleagues are interested, please register!

Eurodiaconia is also coordinating the organisation of a cross-party breakfast meeting to take place in the European Parliament on 9th September. The idea is to gather new and re-elected MEPs who would like to work particularly on poverty and social exclusion, with a specific perspective on the provision of social services, and social investment. To keep us busy in the coming weeks, the Eurodiaconia secretariat is working, among other things, on a final briefing on the fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, on a toolkit on funding, on a response to a European Commission consultation on "stakeholder guidelines" and on our 2015 work programme.

There will be no e-news over the summer break, but we are available in August as ever if you have any questions regarding Eurodiaconia, upcoming meetings or developing partnerships.

Wishing you a great summer,

The Eurodiaconia secretariat

 
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