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EU needs to boost social infrastructure investment, new report says.

On the 23rd January, the High-Level Taskforce on Investing in Social Infrastructure in Europe presented their report on how to boost investment in healthcare, long-term care, education and social housing in the European Union. Highlighting important underinvestment in these areas, the high-level taskforce -led by former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi- recommends practical steps the European Union and relevant stakeholders should take to meet the funding gap.

A year ago, the European association of Long-Term Investors set-up a High-Level Taskforce to assess how to unlock investment into social infrastructure in Europe. Led by former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, the Taskforce brought together a wide range of stakeholders from different backgrounds (former minister, economists, bankers, social sector organisations and social partners) to identify and assess the real needs on the ground and to recommend what instruments could help to finance such needs. As part of the taskforce, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) contributed to the Taskforce with our broad experience of investment in the social sectors.
The outcome of the taskforce was a report, drafted by experts Lieve FransenGino del Bufalo and Eduardo Reviglio: “Boosting Investment in Social Infrastructure in Europe”. The main findings of the report are that investments in Social Infrastructure have decreased by 20% since 2009 in the EU and that the investment gap is estimated at €150 billion per year for the next ten years. The report recommends to:

  • set-up geographic and/or thematic investment platforms for social sector investments to help bundle projects;
  • create new financial instruments, suitable to the specificities of the sectors (social outcome contracts, social bonds, etc)
  • develop far-reaching systems of technical assistance to build capacity at local, national and EU level
  • improve data collection for Social Infrastructure 
  • Facilitate and simplify the blending of resources in the EU 28 (public, private, local, national EU)

Mr Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General EASPD and member of the Taskforce, welcomed the report, stating that “this report will prove to be a turning point as to how policy-makers, bankers and social experts can come together to provide concrete investment solutions to those working on the ground to improve the quality of life of people in Europe. More permanent structures are needed at EU and local level to continue such co-production of solutions.  This is what a Social Europe should look like!

Mr Thomas Bignal, Investment Policy Advisor EASPD and member of the Taskforce added that “the Taskforce report brings solutions to many of the challenges we hear from social service providers, who lack the financial resources to improve their services. It’s great to see this new report complement our own work and activities on the matter”; adding that “private investment into the social sectors can only work if there is sufficient public investment to back it up”.
EASPD will continue to actively work on this matter in 2018 with a series of activities at both European and local level; including setting-up social investment platforms, national events to promote EU instruments and much more.

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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 for 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.

For more information, please contact:
Thomas Bignal
EASPD Policy Advisor
T. +32 2 233 27 23
Andre Felix
EASPD Communications Officer
T. +32 2 233 77 20
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 This publication has been produced with the financial support of the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020). The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission.