Noticias

Creation of the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure

18.12.2018
The main representatives of the social services, health, education, social housing and ageing sectors at European level have joined forces to help unlock investment into local innovative social infrastructure projects which would help to further improve the quality of service provision across the continent. This newly created Steering Board for Social Infrastructure brings together EASPD Housing Europe Eurohealthnet Lifelong Learning Platform FEANTSA AGE Platform The objective is clear: provide the EU institutions with a single point of contact with the different social sectors across Europe in order to develop policies which target the needs of the sectors involved and to build up the capacity of the different stakeholders involved. Helping ot build-up a pipeline of investment projects is also an important priority. In October 2018, the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure organised a launch event to present the new coalition, raise awareness about some of the bottlenecks to finance and pave the way for further investment. The Conference was also the opportunity to present the Steering Board's position paper on InvestEU, which was also followed up by a Scoping Note indicating where are the biggest investment needs for social infrastructure projects. The Steering Board is continuing its activities in 2019 to make sure the social sector's needs are known, respected and well-understood by all stakeholders involved.    

EASPD: Time for the EU Investment Plan to do more for social services

08.09.2017
EASPD organised in the European Parliament (EP) the seminar "Implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investment: unlocking investment for social services" [8-09-2016]. During the Seminar participants discussed how to ensure that EFSI can contribute significantly to social inclusion in Europe, in particular through investment in high-quality social services.         The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) aims to mobilise over EUR 300 billion of private investment in the real economy in the next few years. After one year implementation, the EIB claims that social infrastructure accounts for 4% of EFSI expenditure. According to research made by EASPD, this percentage primarily includes investment into hospitals and social housing projects, with little evidence of sufficient investment into social services.   Mr Luk Zelderloo, EASPD Secretary General, stressed that “the social sector is in need of substantial investment due to the rising demand for quality care and support services throughout Europe”. “Most service providers find it difficult to get access to private funding, loans and bank guarantees”, he added.   Ms Romana Tomc, host and member of the European Parliament, highlighted that “the main aim of EFSI should be to create growth, a dynamic labour market and well-being for EU citizens. There is a lot of demand for investment in social services. There is also money available with the banks. We now need to find ways of bringing them together”. She then called on EFSI to be a relevant tool to do so.   Mr Thomas Bignal, EASPD Policy Officer, stressed the need to “modernise social services by investing not only in the development of community-based infrastructure but also in the training of staff”. He presented three recommendations that have arisen from the EASPD study “Unlocking the EFSI for social services” to help unlock EFSI investment into social services: (1) better targeting instruments to sector’s needs and capacity; (2) creating national/regional platforms to bring relevant stakeholders together and (3) the further inclusion of social services experts in EFSI procedures to better assess the quality of projects.   In addition, speakers stressed the importance to build coalitions and networks between small and large social service providers to attract private investors. The representative from the banking sector pointed out that building on the capacity of service providers to understand and work with private financing is necessary if investment is to be unlocked.   During the second panel, participants addressed the issue of monitoring and assessing the use of the fund and effectiveness of the mechanism. In that sense, Mr Georgi Pirinski, Member of the European Parliament, stressed that “there is a clear and urgent need first to introduce strict public accountability for the operations of EFSI in general and regarding the social services sector in particular. This is imperative given the severe needs for such investment and the fact that in this case EFSI is operating with resources provided by the EU budget”.   All these messages come at an important time, only one week before Jean-Claude Juncker’s state of the union speech in front of the European Parliament [14 Sep] as President of the European Commission; as well as at the beginning of talks to extent EFSI beyond 2018.   Related documents EASPD Study: Unlocking the EFSI for Social Services EASPD State of Play Briefing on EFSI and Social Services in English / in French Photo gallery of the seminar Video gallery and Presentations. Download the press release in pdf format   Note to editors The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 12,000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.   Contact Thomas Bignal, EASPD Policy Officer Rachel Vaughan, EASPD Communications Officer

EASPD New Study: Unlocking the Juncker Package for Social Services

25.02.2017
​ EASPD announces its study on unlocking the Juncker Package (European Fund for Strategic Investment -EFSI) for the Social Services sector. The study provides practical steps and recommendations on how to ensure that EFSI supports the financing of projects in this sector, as well as an overall analysis of the barriers currently hindering this process; both from the perspective of social service providers and financial intermediaries.   In 2015, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) welcomed the creation of the European Fund for Strategic Investment –otherwise known as the Juncker Package- to re-launch private investment into the real economy; and in particular the inclusion of social service providers as a target group. Although not a replacement for the essential adequate public funding for the delivery and continuity of high quality social services, EASPD views EFSI as able to play a complementary role to support the financing of certain specific projects in social services where private investment already plays a role. In such projects, EFSI can help to unlock better financial terms for social service providers when applying for support from a bank or other financial intermediary.   However, up until December 2015, EFSI had yet to support a project in the field of social services, a missed opportunity in the eyes of EASPD. For this reason, EASPD commissioned a study divided into 5 separate reports looking at (1) the practical steps to gain access to EFSI for social service providers and financial intermediaries (report 1, 2 & 3), (2) the key barriers currently hindering this process (report 4) and (3) recommendations to the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (report 5).   Based on this study, EASPD calls on the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to   Provide information on the EFSI targeted to the specific needs of the social services sector to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to the economy; Facilitate the creation of national one-stop-shops for the EFSI and to harmonise the process; Organise sector specific capacity-building and networking sessions between all stakeholders at national or regional level; Include experts in the field of social services in the European Investment Advisory Hub and the EIB’s internal social unit; and organise workships with civil society to exchange views on quality considerations in health and social services; Develop more flexible and adjustable administrative formats (grouping projects, etc) to facilitate uptake from smaller social service providers; Ensure that the EFSI is used to complement the financing of the EaSI programme and create synergies with the European Structural and Investment Funds. EASPD views these recommendations as key to unlocking the EFSI for the social services sector. Similarly, EASPD commits to take practical steps together with the social services sector to assess if certain projects could be supported by the EFSI and how this could be done.   If all stakeholders manage to bridge the current gap, EFSI could be a significant new tool to finance innovation in the sector, investment in human capital and build or renovate much needed community-based social infrastructure.   Relevant Documents EASPD Study: Unlocking the EFSI for Social Services EASPD Press Release in PDF Note to editors The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 12.000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.   Contact Rachel Vaughan, EASPD Communications Officer Thomas Bignal, EASPD Policy Officer