On Friday 27th April the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) joined policy makers and other members of civil society at the Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth, to discuss how the EU can ensure that all citizens reap the benefits of truly inclusive growth.
This year’s Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth (ACIG) focused on how the EU will implement the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and fulfil its commitment to creating a more social Europe.
High quality support services are fundamental to ensure the implementation of at least 10 principles within the EPSR, making them key partners in the day’s discussion. Speaking at the Convention EASPD Secretary General, Luk Zelderloo, Policy Manager, Sabrina Ferraina and Policy Officer, Timothy Ghilain highlighted the importance of investing into the provision of high quality, community based, support and care services to create a more inclusive Europe.
While speaking at the Convention’s first workshop of the day, on how EU funding can support the implementation of the Social Pillar at national and EU levels, Mr Zelderloo emphasised the need for the EPSR’s implementation to be supported by sustained economic investment and support for high quality services. Mr Zelderloo continued by highlighting that: “the Social Pillar is making the demand for social investment more relevant than ever, the investment needs of the sector are increasing and these needs must be met with the help of EU funding.”
EASPD’s participation in the Convention continued throughout the day and Ms Ferraina spoke at European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care’s (EEG) side event alongside the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) and COFACE Families Europe. The side event discussed the importance of community based support and services as pillars for an inclusive European Union. Speaking at the side-event Ms Ferraina asserted that “person-centred community-based services are key to upholding the principles of the EPSR as well as the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
The ACIG’s side events also provided the opportunities to exchange innovative practices and share knowledge with other participants. Mr Ghilain and EASPD member L’Adapt presented the Disability, Equality, Security, Careers (DESC) project which promoted the equal employment opportunities for young people with disabilities in Europe and positively impacted the perceptions of employment for persons with Disabilities.
The day closed with a panel discussion that included Portuguese MEP Maria João Rodrigues, Director-General of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Joost Korte and President of the Social Platform, Jana Hainsworth. The Convention’s participants left policy makers with a clear message on what must be done in the future to support inclusive growth: adequate funding and a commitment from all is crucial to the implementation of the EPSR and the inclusion all in society.
- EASPD Report on Investing in Social Care and Support: A European Imperative
- EEG Press Release on Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth
- Project Launch: DESC 2 ‘Back to the Ground’
- DESC Website
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 15,000 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.
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