SSE breakfast apr 2015 (2000x1125)This morning, Social Services Europe (Eurodiaconia is a member of this European platform) held the breakfast session “Job creation and Economic Growth in the Health and Social Sector: The Contribution of Non-profit Service Providers” at the European Economic and Social Committee. The session was hosted by Ariane Rodert, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee, and chaired by Heinz Becker, Jutta Steinruck and Jean Lambert, Members of the European Parliament. This provided a valuable opportunity for policy makers and service providers to discuss the best ways to bring social investment back on to the European policy agenda, and in so doing, promote sustainable growth and quality jobs.

The different panelists stressed the fact that not-for-profit social and healthcare services contribute concretely to social inclusion and cohesion across Europe. Particularly in this period of crisis when demand for social and health services is growing, their actions are particularly important. Moreover, the sector has a true potential for economic growth and job creation in Europe, they insisted, as the sector has continued to create jobs during the downturn, and also experiences staff shortages.

Despite these obvious assets, the speakers expressed their concern that not-for-profit social and health providers are not sufficiently supported, putting at risk their existence and development. They unanimously called on policy-makers at the European, national and local level to invest in social services, and not to use social budgets as an adjustment variable for austerity measures.

Beyond talking, solidarity needs a work plan, that is why the different members of Social Services Europe present at the breakfast this morning urged the European Commission and European Parliament to partner with them in the EU level initiatives to better promote growth and jobs, as well as social inclusion and cohesion, through social service provision.

Public procurement must be used wisely; quality services need quality jobs, which in turn need sufficient financing. If NGOs received more support in developing their capacity to manage EU structural funds, more sustainable jobs would be created. The European Fund for Strategic Investments must promote projects investing in social infrastructure, ensuring the Fund has a long term social and economic impact and facilitates sustainable job creation.

For more information about the proposals of Social Services Europe please see the background briefing here .

To download the highlights of this event, please click here.