This week, among the talking heads of the EU, recovery has been the keyword. On Wednesday the European Commission proposed a Recovery Plan for Europe – Next Generation EU, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is linked to the proposal for the next EU budget and consists of grants and loans to Member States. Recovery is an interesting word. Where and what do we mean by recovery and perhaps most importantly, who? Who is targeted by any recovery plan? People experiencing poverty who have seen increased unemployment and drops in income support? People with disabilities who have been unable to access all the services they need over the past three months? Migrants and refugees who have been subject to more stringent regulations and confinement and who have been losing access to services and integration opportunities? People working in social enterprises who have been unable to do so and where the activities themselves are facing major financing losses? Social service providers, who have had huge financial struggles in providing equipment to staff, have had to invest in more technology and have had to pay for more staff to deal with the impact of the pandemic? Will we see them reflective in the recovery plan?
That is the work that we will be doing in the coming week, assessing the recovery plan through the eyes of the needs of Eurodiaconia members and of the most vulnerable in our societies. But we will also be speaking about our members’ needs elsewhere. We will be representing our members engaged in social enterprises in a conference with the European Parliament and will be joining many of our members in a seminar with the European Commission on how our members can access EU funds to support the emergency response – and ultimately recovery. If you would like to participate in either of these events, please contact us.
Recovery – we know that in Diaconia recovery is wider than economic recovery – it is part of the process of reconciliation and transformation – and that it through this and through empowerment that real change happens. Recovery cannot be just ‘back to normal’ – it has to be about reconciling the drastic inequalities we have in our societies, transform situations of injustice and empower people to be able to have autonomy in their own lives. That is the wider recovery we need to see – that is the wider recovery plan that will work.
Have a good weekend,