This report presents Eurodiaconia’s assessment of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans(NRRPs) of Finland, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Czechia, France, Italy, and Spain.  It focuses on social investment, in particular social services-childcare, long-term care, and social housing.  Eurodiaconia expects the NRRPs to offer investments that will generate social benefits, reduce inequalities, deliver social rights, and empower people to live in dignity.  Also, the NRRPs should have a strong focus on strengthening social services which stretch beyond those needed for immediate crisis response and towards better shaping the welfare systems for the future, whether through education, labour market policies, vocational training, healthcare, or social care.

The analysis presented is based on input from our members through consultations and exchanges throughout the year.

While the RRP’s demonstrate some willingness to invest in social services, they are still not ambitious enough.  The plans need to be robust with clear, tangible, measurable targets focused on improving people’s lives.  A long-term social investment strategy will boost human capital, empower people to be productive, reduce inequalities, build resilience and break the inter-generational cycle of poverty.  Member States, in the move towards the green and digital transition, must equally build socially resilient systems capable of absorbing current and future crises.

As such, Europe urgently needs strategic investment policies in social housing, childcare services, long-term care, and all person-centred services that enable people to live a life of dignity.  These policies should be wholesome and inclusive; migrants and other vulnerable groups, such as ethnic minorities, should not be left out in social investment plans; they should be mainstreamed in all areas of social policy.

We, therefore, call on the European Commission to:

  • Encourage policy dialogue at the EU level regarding the long-term impact and sustainability of initiatives developed and implemented under the RRF.
  • Simplify reporting mechanisms on EU funds.  This remains a burden for small and medium-sized organisations, as well as not-for-profit organisations, which are often lacking in capacity.
  • Assess and ensure that the proposed reforms and investments address the Country Specific Recommendations from 2019 and 2020.
  • Encourage Member States to put in place adequate mechanisms that allow for civil society participation in the design and delivery of the Recovery and Resilience Plans

You can read the full report here.