Sometimes, living and working in the ‘Brussels Bubble’ can allow our views and understanding of social policies be too ‘Europeanised’…often to the expense of the reality at local level. Throughout Eurodiaconia we try to keep very close contact with members to avoid this happening and we spend a lot of time working with members to understand their views and experience. This week, I had a really good reminder of why this is so important. On Monday, the Employment and Social Affairs Ministers agreed the final text of the European Pillar of Social Rights – something many of us have been working towards for a long time. On Wednesday, I was in Germany, at a seminar organised in conjunction with the Protestant Academy of Bad Boll, where we focused on how to work towards a social Europe.

The Pillar of Social Rights is a great step – but only TOWARDS a social Europe, not in achieving a social Europe. It sets a blue print, but it is only when changes happen at local and regional level – positive changes the impact peoples’ lives for the better, can we say we have finished the journey towards a social Europe. So the local and regional activists and social workers I met in Germany stressed the need for implementation of the Pillar to be meaningful, strategic and impactful – that is what makes the difference – actions not words. So I end this week reminded that for all the work we do at EU level to get such policies adopted, it is only when they are implemented that change happens. That is where we need to work more with our members to monitor how this is happening at national, regional and local level, that is why the Brussels Bubble needs to be burst – so we see beyond into the real world.

Have a great weekend,