On 24th June 2020, Eurodiaconia Members took part and spoke in an online Social Summit Organised by the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities and partners. The occasion offered an opportunity for grassroots social service leaders from across Europe to present how they have been contributing to a more Social Union during the COVID-19 pandemic and to discuss the role of the EU to ensure the continuity of these services.
Our Danish Member Kirkens Korshӕr, recounted how they had to adjust their work quickly to continue providing services during the crisis; Offering night shelters, power banks, food, help, and information. They further called on the EU for resilience in funding for the social service providers and security nets that ensures the presence of social enterprises.
Slezská diakonie, one of our Czech Members called for more recognition of the social service sector especially as they were the first line actors during the pandemic. They echoed the importance of investment in Long-term Care, an area that was hit hardest by the pandemic.
Eurodiaconia has been actively calling on the EU for the protection of the most vulnerable in our societies during these unprecedented times.
In an open letter sent ahead of the EPSCO Council, we urged the EU to:
- Establish a task force or similar to analyse the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and propose responsive actions using all the legislative, policy and financial tools at the European Union’s disposal. The social impact of this pandemic will require ambitious, sustained and coordinated action at European level. Such a task force should include all stakeholders including civil society and social and health care service providers.
- Accelerate work on policies that will address those facing increased vulnerabilities at this time and ensure that they focus on actions and not only advice. Work on Minimum Income, the future Multiannual Financial Framework, the Action Plans on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Green Deal and the Action Plan on Social Economy must deliver in the coming months and not be postponed as a result of the current crisis. They must be mutually reinforcing and seek to achieve an overall goal.
- Develop a post 2020 strategy for the European Union that focuses on social investment, protects the most vulnerable and ensures the active empowerment and wellbeing of all people. Such as strategy should bring together the objectives and priorities of the proposed European Green Deal, the European Pillar of Social Rights and policies of economic and financial governance to provide an overarching process of improving the wellbeing of people and the sustainability of our environment.
We have also recently presented our policy briefing and recommendations paper titled “Protecting the vulnerable – supporting our people“. The document comes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides information about the experience and observations of our member organisations who are at the forefront of the fight against the disease. The paper also includes a set of policy recommendations aimed at supporting social service providers at regional, national and European levels to ensure that people living at the margins of society are not left behind in these unusually challenging times.
To know more about Eurodiaconia’s recommendations on how to protect the most vulnerable, please read our latest policy briefing.