PRESS RELEASE Steering Board for Social Infrastructure: “Make Us Advisory Partners to Boost InvestEU’s Social Impact”
On 4th December, the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure and Mr Alfred Sant MEP co-organised the European Parliament event “InvestEU & the Economy of Well-being: making the most of local know-how”. With over 100 participants, the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure engaged with EU policy makers and investors on concrete steps to ensure that InvestEU brings genuine solutions to high-quality and innovative social, health, education, and housing projects. The major recommendation was to ensure that the Steering Board becomes a formal Advisory Partner to help InvestEU reach its social impact potential in local communities across Europe
The European Union has been increasingly active in trying to boost private investment in Europe, including in the social sectors. The European Commission has recently proposed a new InvestEU program, currently under negotiation, which builds on previous EU initiatives and aims to improve access to finance (typically, loans) for social projects with a dedicated window for “Social investment and skills”.
The Steering Board for Social Infrastructure (SBSI) was created in 2017, in part to provide a cross-sectoral and representative partner for the European institutions to improve the impact of EU Investment initiatives in the social, health, education, housing and ageing sectors. SBSI brings together major representatives of the social services, health, education, social and affordable housing and ageing sectors at European level. Together, these sectors enable all persons in Europe to access their human and social rights, to live healthier, to be empowered and to live in dignity. They also enable the economy to function better, fairer and more sustainably, as highlighted by the Council Conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing.
All of these fields of activity have funding gaps and lack investment. Whilst addressing the public funding gap must continue to be the N°1 priority for the European Union, the proposed InvestEU programme can be an opportunity to boost access to finance for social infrastructure development.
Opening the event, Mr Alfred Sant, Member of the European Parliament highlighted the “need for local projects to not fall outside of the loop of InvestEU. Although small in EU terms, these are often crucial in the social & economic development of communities”.
Ms Kerstin Jorna, Deputy Director General at DG Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission, welcomed the event “as key to developing the products we need for the future”, whilst remarking “the Economy that Works for People is more than a mantra, it is part of objectives of the EU treaty”. Ms Ivankovic Knezevic, Director at DG Employment and Social Affairs, European Commission, outlined how “we need to better link InvestEU with other programs such as the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund +”.
Mr Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General of the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities and SBSI member, confirmed “the potential of InvestEU for social impact”; yet highlighted “the risk is that InvestEU fails to reach the most impactful social projects, which are often bottom-up, community-based and require more targeted technical expertise. Luckily for the European Commission and Investors, they have a ready-made solution: the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure and our ability to understand and engage with our local membership. We must become advisory partners to bridge the gap!”
The event also allowed the SBSI to present their Joint Position “InvestEU and the Economy of Wellbeing: making the most of local know-how”, which includes 5 targeted recommendations on how to maximise the social impact of InvestEU. The event marked the first step towards more formal cooperation between the EU institutions, the Investors and the social sectors targeted by InvestEU.
For more information, contact Thomas Bignal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creation of the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure
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
Lifelong Learning 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.
European Commission propose new InvestEU programme for next EU Budget
The European Union is currently negotiating its next multi-annual financial framework (EU budget) for the period 2021-2027. As part of this framework, the European Commission has proposed to create the InvestEU programme, which will serve as an extension to the EU Investment Plan and, broadly speaking, function as a similar instrument: to help organisations get access to better loans.
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union are currently negotiating with the European Commission on the InvestEU programme.
Based on our engagement with national social service providers over the last few years, EASPD has actively played a role in supporting the design of InvestEU itself, as well as bringing fresh ideas into the current negotiation; outlined in the following documents:
EASPD’s position on the next EU budget proposal
Social Services Europe’s Initial Remarks on the EU budget proposal
Social Services Europe’s position on the European Commission’s InvestEU proposal
The Steering Board for Social Infrastructure’s Position Paper on the European Commission’s InvestEU proposal
EASPD is continuing to monitor the ongoing negotiations and an analysis of the final agreement will be made available on this website.