During the European Civic Days organized by the Spanish presidency in Malaga from the 7th to 9th of May EASPD was represented by its Secretary General Luk Zelderloo.
The goal of the meeting was to create, develop and encourage the debate on the role that associations and NGO’s can play in building a more social Europe and in consolidating European citizenship according to the community values. Over 600 people from all over Europe were actively involved in the discussions about equality, democracy, well-being, cultural exchange and respect and promotion of fundamental rights. During his presentation Luk Zelderloo stressed the importance of NGO Social Service providers being the glue in our society and providing tools for social inclusion and social cohesion by mobilizing social capital in our communities at grassroots level. He highlighted the potential risk of using wrong public procurement instruments, not respecting the values and the specificity of the sector. Also the need for a well structured social dialogue to facilitate coping with the shortage of first line workers in some countries, the need for retraining and the lack of attractiveness of our sector were discussed. The main problems faced by the social sector, identified by Luk Zelderloo, were as well included in the conference conclusions: a shift from the medical paradigm to the community based approach, the changing roles of authorities, the lack of stable legal frameworks and funding, a need for real stakeholder cooperation, new needs due to ageing and a shift in family patterns and a very fast technological evolution providing new opportunities and new risks.