• 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 Thursday, March 05, 2015
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Social services

Eurodiaconia works on many areas related to the provision of social services. Social Services of General interest (SSGI) is the term used to describe social services that are seen to be of importance to the general population. The European Commission has described them as including services provided directly to the person that play a preventive and socially cohesive role, such as social assistance services, employment and training services, social housing, child care or long-term care services.

Eurodiaconia focuses on working to ensure that not-for-profit social and health care providers operate in a supportive environment, where their importance is recognised.

Eurodiaconia monitors the impacts of EU legislation and how it is implemented on the provision of social services in Europe, in particular the impact of EU State Aid and Public Procurement rules, which regulate how contracting authorities can finance social services.

Eurodiaconia members strive to provide quality services and Eurodiaconia has been actively engaged in the EU debate on the quality of social services since 2005. Eurodiaconia has contributed to EU initiatives on quality and has developed its own document on quality.

Eurodiaconia and its members decided to develop one particular elementof these principles, namely service user participation and empowerment. Members felt it was important to facilitate mutual learning and to promote these ideas and drew up a toolkit to this effect.

  • Eurodiaconia toolkit for user participation and empowerment in social services, available in English , French and German (2010).

European Parliament and member states agree to scrap possibility to award public contracts based solely on lowest price

26 June 2013

The European Parliament and member states negotiators agreed today on a text for the new public procurement directive which includes taking out the possibility for public authorities to award contracts based solely on the lowest cost offer for goods and services. Although price can still be a deciding criterion it is felt that this change from the current directive will put additional emphasis on the importance of quality and encourage consideration of social and environmental criteria.

The lead MEP negotiator Marc Tarabella (Belgium, S&D) said, "The criterion of the most economically advantageous tender makes once again quality the central issue and puts an end to the dictatorship of the lowest price. We have also ensured transparency is reinforced in the chain of subcontractors. Rules will be stricter for offers that are abnormally low."

The final text agreed is not yet publicly available and there were a number of last minute proposals to amend the section setting out a light regime for social, health and other specific services including a new section on reserved markets for social enterprises. The secretariat will inform members when more information is available. The text still has to be approved by the Committee leading the work in the European Parliament in a vote in July and by the whole Parlaiment in October but currently no obstacles to its adoption are expected. Once the legislation has been adopted Eurodiaconia will write a briefing for members on what it could mean for their service provision. For more information please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Video message from Jean Lambert MEP following debate on investing in social services

Video message from Jean Lambert MEP following debate on investing in social services despite austerity

21 March 2013

Watch Jean Lambert MEP's video message following the debate that she hosted on investing in social services on the 19th March, co-organised by Eurodiaconia.

What did she think were the most important conclusions from the meeting? How can the European Parliament help encourage governments to take a social investment approach? And finally, what message would she send Eurodiaconia members?



Message from Jean Lambert, Member of the European Parliament, following debate on investing in social services from Eurodiaconia on Vimeo.

19 March Lunchtime Debate: Investing in Social Services despite austerity

19 march poster pic

Promoting quality in tendering for social services: update on reform of directive

March 7 2013

Following the vote by the European Parliament on the proposed public procurement directive in its Internal Market Committee (IMCO) in December, the lead MEPs have now been given the authority to start negotiations with national governments.  

Eurodiaconia and partners were pleased that IMCO decided to propose that the possibility for public authorities to award contracts based on lowest price be abolished, as advocated for last year. This is aimed to stress the importance of quality in contracting, but this will be one of the most controversial elements in the debate with Member States. The European Parliament also strengthened the wording of the section that deals with specific rules for social services, including that authorities must take into account the need to ensure high quality services, which will also need to be defended with national governments.

Eurodiaconia and other Social NGOs tried to get an explicit recognition of the possibility for a national law reserving markets to NGOs into the text but this was not taken on board by the Parliament. A full analysis of the IMCO and the Member States’ positions in January from the Social Platform can be found here.

The amendments the IMCO committee have proposed relating to social services will be discussed mid-April, and with Social Services Europe and the Social Platform Eurodiaconia will be contacting key MEPs, political staff and national representatives. Eurodiaconia has been working with these partners to feed into the Network for Sustainable Development in Public Procurement's proposals for the negotiations.

The final vote in the European Parliament on the Directive is expected in the Autumn but this is likely just to be an affirmation of the positions agreed in the negotiations. For more information on the previous discussions on public procurement rules see here.

Conference discusses promoting employment in personal and household services

4 February 2013

The European Commission organised a conference in Brussels on the 30 and 31 January examining how to increase employment in “personal and household services”. The conference follows up from the 2012 consultation to which Eurodiaconia responded as part of Social Services Europe (see response here). On the one hand it sought to examine how to improve working conditions in household services such as cleaning and how to bring people out of the black market in the sector, and on the other hand the challenges of an ageing society and care services.

Speakers from Social Services Europe members were able to express the network’s concerns about this mixed approach and clearly lay out our recommendations for policy makers in the area of employment in the care sector, whether that be in home or residential care. They highlighted the often integrated nature of home, community and institutional care and the need for highly skilled people in the sector. The integration issue was echoed in another presentation which called for the integration of informal care in the formal care system and the creation of a new “value” chain of cooperation also involving NGOs and volunteers.

Specifically on employment for carers, speakers called for recognition of acquired knowledge, better links between different levels of qualifications and spoke of online courses to build capacties. The EU research agency Eurofound introduced ongoing research that is examining supply and demand for staff in home care and solutions to promote work in the sector.

Carers UK spoke of the need to ensure sufficient capacity of care for older people as a vital part of economic growth. It was suggested that such care should be approached as childcare was previously in the UK, with investment and incentives to grow supply.

Presentations sharing good practice included the project-turned-social movement My Home Life, which promotes quality of life for those living, dying, visiting and working in care homes through a participatory approach of all involved. They support care home managers and talk of moving beyond person-centered care to bringing people into community.

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