Early today, Eurodiaconia has published its new report titled “Impact of COVID-19 on Diaconal Services“.
COVID-19 has significantly exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in society, leaving no segment of the population untouched. The effects of the pandemic are widespread and far-reaching, having an impact on all sectors of the economy and people, with some groups hit harder than others. The people experiencing poverty, the elderly, persons with disabilities, migrants, Roma, refugees, the homeless, and children have felt the effect most deeply, and the implications of pre-existing discrimination, vulnerability, and neglect have been underlined. While it is too early to assess the impact of the pandemic fully, various reports and analysts forecast the effect on the European economy will be more devastating than that of the 2008 crisis. Much action has already been taken to strengthen health care provision and to protect the economy. Nevertheless, there remain substantial gaps that, if not addressed quickly, may have severe social consequences.
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has offered an opportunity for the EU and member states to address the social inequalities that existed before the outbreak. To adequately fix current structural weaknesses and to effectively deal with the impact on the social sector, we need a more substantial commitment by the EU to ensure and support the resilience of social services. The EU has to empower social service providers and equip them with crisis management tools.
The crisis is far from over, and the fear of subsequent waves of the virus remains palpable; as such, drawing lessons from the crisis is crucial. The EU and the member states must work swiftly on better preparedness, at the same time ensuring that no one is left behind. Vulnerable people, more than ever, need to be at the heart of decision-making in the EU.
As such, this report gives an insight into the impact COVID-19 has had on the provision of social services based on input from Eurodiaconia members. As the EU moves towards recovery, the most vulnerable should be prioritised in funding programmes. The pandemic has created an environment where discussions must go beyond the usual political rhetoric and towards policy proposals that practically mirror the European social and economic realities.
To know more about the impact of COVID-19 on diaconal organisations, have a look at our latest report.