Demand for social care and support services is at an all-time high.
All indicators (ageing, gender balance, social and economic needs, etc) point that the sector will continue to expand exponentially in the years to come. Similar trends can also be found in healthcare, in education and in social housing; three sectors which are as crucial to the wellbeing of Europe’s population as they are to economic growth. Matching this reality with sufficient investment is one of the biggest political challenges of our times with an estimated gap of €150 billion a year in the EU alone.
For this reason, former President of the European Commission and Prime Minister Mr Romano Prodi formed the “High-Level Taskforce on Investing in Social Infrastructure in Europe” to bring together a wide range of stakeholders from different backgrounds (former minister, economists, bankers, social sector organisations and social partners); among which EASPD. The objective of this taskforce was clear: first, to identify and assess the real needs on the ground; second, to recommend what instruments could be developed to help finance such needs.
Among such a diverse group of experts, EASPD brought in four main perspectives:
- Recognition of the unique and crucial role social care and support services play in Europe.
- The need to ensure continuity of such services through adequate public funding with complementary financial instruments.
- A deeper understanding of the changes to how care and support services will be provided in the future, in particular in terms of the transition to community-based services and digitalisation;
- The investment needs, logic and functioning of - social care and support services -
The outcome was a very important report “Boosting Investment in Social Infrastructure in Europe” recently launched and welcomed by Vice President of the European Commission Mr Jyrki Katainen.
As EASPD, it was crucial for us to have a spot at the table to make sure the social care sector has an important say. If properly implemented, we expect there to be higher investment into the sector and therefore another important step towards the transition to quality community-based care and support services.
From my perspective, this report is a great example of “policy co-production” and of what can be done when two (or more…) different worlds come together around a common project and with a clear message: we must invest more in social infrastructure!
In 2018, EASPD will continue to engage with different partners to put in practice the many recommendations made by the report, with targeted events at European, national and local level.
You can continue to follow our work by visiting www.socialinvestment.eu
Investment Policy Advisor