On the occasion of the seminar organised jointly by the Platform, the Commission and the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend on the 28 an 29 of June, entitled ‘Specificities potential and needs of social Services of General Interest’, EAPN wants to put the needs and expectations of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion at the centre of the debate.
It must be underlined that the quality of all services of general interest and the way they are all delivered is of high importance for people experiencing poverty and social exclusion, who often face difficulties in accessing these services. The European Social Model should be characterised not only by a high level of social services but also by high level and accessible Services of General Interest contributing to the cohesion of the society. The notion of ‘general interest’ should also be defined in terms of its contribution to the cohesion of society.
Within services of general interest, social services as part of social protection systems give a crucial contribution to social inclusion and social cohesion. Amongst other characteristics, social services:
- address the biological, psychological and social needs of the persons, in order to enhance their capacities to participate fully in society,
- are delivered to persons, and need a cooperative interaction to be efficient,
- are based on institutional structures and organisational arrangements with qualified personnel.
Social services include for example support in accessing housing, employment, training, and support for groups facing specific difficulties like drug users…
- The implementation of social services should guarantee:
- Equal access for all to these services,
- High level quality social services,
- Concrete involvement of citizens, as a concrete expression of solidarity,
- Empowerment and involvement in the services of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion.
Without covering the full range of technical issues linked to the legal status and financing of Social Services of General Interest, and before commenting on the current legal development at EU level, EAPN wants to define more precisely the expectations of organisations representing the interests of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion in terms of access and quality.