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.
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.
The “Europe 2020 strategy” is the EU's growth strategy for the coming decade. Launched in 2010, it aims to achieve “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" through the achievement of 5 overarching targets:
Employment: 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed R&D / innovation: 3% of the EU's GDP (public and private combined) to be invested in R&D/innovation Climate change / energy: greenhouse gas emissions 20% (or even 30%, if the conditions are right) lower than 1990 20% of energy from renewables 20% increase in energy efficiency Education Reducing school drop-out rates below 10% at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education Poverty / social exclusion at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion
Eurodiaconia is particularly interested by the "inclusive growth" objective as well as the stakeholders involvement in the process. In these times of economic and financial crisis, austerity programs and budget restraints, the challenge to find the balance between financial, economic and social policy has pushed many Member States to forget the social inclusion dimension of Europe, and the requirement to involve stakeholders in policy making.
Eurodiaconia is following the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy through the European Union's seven "flagship initiatives" ("new engines to boost growth and jobs"), and working for a stronger engagement of diaconal actors in the overall process of the European semester.
To know more about Eurodiaconia's work on Europe 2020, please contact Clotilde at
Country Specific Recommendations: Eurodiaconia and the Church and Society Commission address the European Commission
16 May 2012
In the framework of the European semester, the European Commission is due to issue its Country Specific Recommandations (CSR) by the 30th of May 2012 in response to the National Reform Programmes (the documents will be accessible here). The CSR will then have to be approved by the Council before being officially issued to Member States in June.
On 15th May, Eurodiaconia and the Church and Society Commission jointly wrote to the President of the European Commission (Mr. Barosso) and the European Commission Secretary General (Ms. Day) to ask them to highlight the importance of the poverty reduction target and stakeholders' involvement in the Country Specific Recommendations.
This letter was based on members' experience as they often report a lack of dialogue and real participation with national governments in the elaboration of the National Reform Programme. This letter also insists that the European Commission places the poverty target at the same level as the other Europe 2020 targets, particularly in the current context of economic, financial and social crisis.
As part of this European semester, Member States are required to sumbit to the European Commission their National Reform Programme ("NRP") by mid April. With these "NRPs", Member States explain, among other things, how they will they work toward the achievement of the Europe 2020 targets and how they will tackle the social consequences of the crisis.
The National Reform Programmes (NRP) for 2012 are now available on the European Commission website (here) and the National Social Report (NSR) are also slowly becoming available (here). The Europe 2020 strategy follows the timing of the “European semester” (for more information, see the European Commission indicative calendar)
The NRPs have been sent to the European Commission for assessment, and based on this assessment, the Council will issue country-specific guidance to Member States in June/July of each year. This means that policy advice is given to Member States before they start to finalise their draft budgets for the following year. Where recommendations are not acted on within the given time-frame, policy warnings can be issued.
Eurodiaconia is very interested to have your opinion about these NRPs and NSRs. For instance, how does your NRP contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 poverty, employment and education targets? Are the policies proposed satisfactory for you? Does the NRP reflect the reality according to you? Have any of your comments been taken into account? etc.
If you would be available to answer some of these questions by email or by phone, please contact
Many thanks in advance!
Europe 2020 Eurodiaconia steering group meets in Berlin
14 March 2012
Europe 2020 Eurodiaconia steering group met in Berlin on 12th and 13th of March to discuss the future involvement of Eurodiaoconia in the European semester and the broader question of European economic governance. One of the purposes of the steering group is to continue to work on the impact of the financial and economic crisis and to reflect on the opportunity and possibility to engage in the wider debate of European economic governance and its social impact.
Eurodiaconia members agreed to work for Eurodiaconia to develop its policy work to reinforce its argumentation on the importance and benefits of social cohesion. Members also encouraged the Eurodiaconia Secretariat to continue its work on Europe 2020 in order to provide information and support for members to be involved in their National Reform Programme and National Social Report.
Centre right group in European Parliament calls for social investment as response to crisis
9 March 2012
A meeting of the EPP group in the European Parliament on the 8th March examined a report written by researchers at the European Social Observatory (OSE) on how social spending should be seen as investments, in people and their capabilities, rather than as consumption. The report’s lead author, Professor Vandenbroucke, stated that long term goals, including social inclusion, should not fall victim to short term policy decisions and that the proposal for a social investment “pact” can reorient priorities.
Commissioner Andor welcomed the proposal without supporting it per se, but stressed the cost of “non-inclusion” and said that the Commission supported a scoreboard of social investment indicators as additions to the economic and fiscal indicators Member States report on. Another OSE researcher stated that the EU had tools to better integrate social considerations in the economic and fiscal debate, but it appears to be simultaneously pursuing mutually exclusive goals of fiscal consolidation and social inclusion.
Although the Social Investment Pact as outlined by the OSE report had various priorities, including minimum income support and capacity-building social services, the meeting mainly focussed on how education is key in ensuring people can access the labour market. Eurodiaconia intervened, making the comment that successful education policy is not possible without a supportive social policy and related services to enable people to take up education and training.
The meeting was designed to feed into a non-legislative report in the European Parliament currently being drafted by the host of the meeting, Ms Jazłowieka MEP. Eurodiaconia will be in touch with her to put forward proposals.
This video shows the EPP group's conclusions from the event.
Engage with your country's National Reform Programme!
28 February 2012
EU Member States are required to develop at national level a “national reform program” (NRP) explaining how they will deliver on the objective of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. These reports (“National Reform Programs” or NRPs) have to set out actions for national governments in areas such as employment and social inclusion. Civil society can be engaged in this process, giving input on the reality of the social situation or commenting on the impact of social policies for example.
Why should we act now? Now is the time to be involved as governments will have to send their NRPs to the European Commission before 13th April 2012. This is an opportunity for national organisation active in the field of social inclusion to engage in the political process.
How can you get engaged in the process? The Eurodiaconia Secretariat has prepared a short briefing including some ideas on how to engage and where to start. Eurodiaconia members from Germany and Romania were also asked to contribute by preparing a very short description of how they have tried to be involved in the process. We hope this will inspire and support the work of other member organisations.