The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) welcomes the European Parliament’s announcement to re-establish the Social Economy Intergroup and hopes that it will be able to support the push for the development of a political, legal and financial framework which ensures that the Social and Health Services sector maximises its potential to create quality jobs and help fight poverty and social exclusion in Europe. EASPD also embraces the renewal of the Disability Intergroup and will support its work, putting efforts in to speeding up the transition from institutional to community living for persons with disabilities.
On 11th December the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament (EP) officially confirmed the re-establishment of the two most important intergroups for the work carried out by the European Association of Services providers for Persons with Disabilities: the Social Economy Intergroup and the Disability Intergroup.
Social Economy Intergroup. Employment package, European Semester and the TTIP
The Social Economy Intergroup aims at addressing the problems arising in the European social economy sector, which includes operators such as cooperatives, foundations, mutual societies and associations. Social Service providers are also an integral part of the social economy and they play an important role in contributing to deal with some social problems in an effective way. They are therefore an essential pillar for a sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU and drivers for the achievement of the employment and poverty targets included in the European 2020 strategy. Social and health care services are however struggling as a result of the economic and financial crisis, which has worsened the working conditions for the staff and has put increasing pressure on the quality of services provided. Thus having an impact on the lives of many persons with support needs.
EASPD Secretary General and President of Social Services Europe, Luk Zelderloo, highlighted during a hearing organised the 3rd September by the European Economic and Social Committee that there is a need in Europe to “establish the right political, legal and financial framework to ensure that the Social and Health Services sector maximises its potential to create millions of jobs and help fight poverty and social exclusion in Europe”. The continuity of the Social Economy Intergroup is also needed because Europe is experiencing demographic and societal changes that will increase the demand for social services in the coming years. EASPD hopes that the Intergroup calls on the European Commission to launch a Communication on an Action Plan to unlock the job creation potential of the sector, streamlining the work done by Member States and outlining what and how EU tools could be used to support this process. Additionally, But there are other important issues which concern the sector and also need to be addressed such as the threat represented by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and availability of the social and health services.
Disability Intergroup. De-institutionalisation and the European Disability Strategy
EASPD embraces the announcement made by the European Parliament to also re-establish the Disability Intergroup. The years to come will be crucial for the disability sector as the EU will exchange with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities the progress made throughout Europe to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This year might also be important if the European Commission finally launches the Accessibility Act and the European Council moves forward on concluding the much-waited for EU antidiscrimination Directive. EASPD also wishes the Intergroup to call on the European Commission to launch a Communication on the Transition from Institutions to Community-based Services.
Note to editors
Intergroups are informal working groups bringing together MEPs from different political groups that are interested to develop joint activities around a specific subject. Even though intergroups are rather considered ’platforms of exchange’, their activities have often led to concrete political initiatives/legislation. Only a limited number of intergroups can be established. The topics are voted and negotiated in and between the political groups in the beginning of each legislative term.
Related News and useful links
- Social Services Europe: “How do social service providers contribute to sustainable growth?”
- EASPD briefing paper: “TTIP: a threat to the quality of social services in Europe”
- EASPD briefing paper: “Job Creation Potential of the Social Services Sector”
- European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based care: “Dismantling barriers to community-living”
- Social Economy Europe: “Campaign for the Social Economy Intergroup at the European Parliament”
Nieves Tejada Castro, EASPD Communications Officer