Yesterday, the European Commission launched guidance on how the EU’s upcoming €672.5 billion investment programme – the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) – will be used. The RRF offers some potential investment opportunities for social services, yet it does not offer any guarantees with earmarking only committed to digital and green transitions. After the limited impact of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative on social inclusion, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities calls the EU institutions to take concrete action to ensure this new instruments improves access to social services in the years to come, especially in response to the huge impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the sector, its workers and beneficiaries.
On the 17th September 2020, the European Commission (EC) launched guidance on its upcoming €672.5 billion investment programme – the Recovery and Resilience Facility – and how it will be used by Member States. The RRF is the biggest instrument of the European Union’s big response to the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; the so-called NextGenerationEU.
In this new Facility, each Member State will submit by latest April 2021 their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRP), which will detail the use of RRF to support public investment and policy reform in their countries. The European Commission gives guidance on the policy priorities each Plan must respond to. Two areas benefit from earmarking: the digital and ecological transitions. The social angle is placed under the umbrella of “fairness” and includes many important policy priorities: unemployment, equal opportunities, inclusive education and strengthening long-term care. Whilst the references are important, they remain recommendations alone, with no guaranteed earmarking.
The 7 Flagship Initiatives also bring opportunities – not guarantees - especially towards the digitalization of social services, as well as education, training and employment services.
After the launch of the Guidance, Mr Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General of EASPD, stated “Will this new Investment Programme bring real solutions to the millions of people who use social services, the 100,000s of service providers and their 11 million staff? Or will it end up like the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, which did not reach the sector, despite its good intentions? We urge policy-makers at all levels to go beyond offering opportunities for social services, realise the extent of the challenges facing the sector and guarantee that the Recovery and Resilience Facility will strengthen access to social services for millions during this global pandemic”.
Following the launch of this Guidance, EASPD will work with both EU policy-makers and our Members to turn the RRF’s potential into concrete investment.
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 17,000 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.