Facilitating the engagement of our members in European social policy processes is essential if such policy is going to have an impact. Our members’ experience as service providers and social justice advocates is invaluable to defining, implementing and evaluating policies that being real change to people all over Europe. That is why this week we have been enthused by multiple opportunities to meet with our colleagues in the European Commission and European Parliament to share members views and proposals for social policy development. We have been able to meet with an MEP from Scotland to talk about how Brexit will affect social and human rights, as well as how our member there is at the forefront of community based inclusion work. We met with colleagues in the European Commission to talk about how our members view on the established National Roma Integration Strategies and National Roma Platforms, and with other Commission colleagues to present how we work across Europe and what are our key social policy concerns.

In every meeting the fact we could cite concrete projects and actions was much appreciated and being able to link decision makers at European level with actors at national level seen as a huge added value. People often ask us if it is difficult to work with the institutions, but actually, we find that politicians and civil servants alike welcome having dialogue that is constructive, realistic and a bit challenging. But we can only do that if our members share the task with us and so it has been great that this week our Healthy Aging and Long Term Care network has been meeting in Vienna.  13 of our members have been looking at disability, inclusion and long term care and it is the outcomes of that meeting that will define projects as well as advocacy going forward – and form the basis for future co-operation with the institutions.

We all have a role to play in building a stronger social Europe and I am glad that I can end this week knowing our contribution has been listened to and I hope, acted on.

Have a good weekend,