In the aftermath of the financial crisis, poverty has risen and inequality has increased across Europe. In spite of the launch of the Europe2020 Strategy, the recently released 2017 Country Reports have shown that significant challenges persist when it comes to achieving clear and sustainable social progress.

One of the key ways to overcome this impasse, and to promote a stronger Social Europe, relates to the concept of social investment. Social investment means investing in people from the earliest stage in life to equip people with the skills to access the labour market and with the means to participate fully in society. It relies on integrated service provision and tailor-made support pathways throughout the life cycle. As the name implies, social investment is a strategic option which yields both social and economic returns; however, levels of social investment have remained low across Member States.

Against this background, a coalition of Brussels-based actors, including Eurodiaconia, is currently calling on the European Commission to promote social investment more explicitly and through new means. Together with the Social Platform, a network of European-level NGOs working in the social sector, and CESI, the European confederation of independent trade unions, Eurodiaconia has released a discussion paper on the importance of social investment, calling specifically for a ‘Silver Rule for Social Investment’, which would create more fiscal space at the national level for key areas of social expenditure.

The discussion paper has led to several high-level political dialogues, and has now been picked up in a comprehensive study on the importance of social investment by the European Policy Centre (EPC). The EPC’s study supports both the diagnosis and the key recommendations put forward in the discussion paper; Eurodiaconia will continue its advocacy on the importance of social investment, and continue to make its case for the feasibility of a Silver Rule, in the months ahead.

To know more about the importance of social investment, check out our discussion paper.