On 14th September, the European Commission proposed to extend and empower the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI 2.0), a European instrument aimed at unlocking billions of private investment into the economy. According to research made by EASPD (European Association of Service Providers for Persons with disabilities) there is very little evidence of any significant investment into social services through this mechanism.
Despite an increase in demand due to demographic and social changes, funding for social services has dropped in all EU countries. This has led to important gaps between current levels of investment and the much higher investment needs of many social services. Wasn’t the EFSI created to precisely meet these unmet gaps in investment?
Earlier this year, EASPD published a study assessing how social services could access EFSI. Although the instrument is open to all sectors, the study demonstrated that the reality was far different with clear barriers for the sector to successfully access the instrument and under 1% of EFSI being invested into social services. To ensure that EFSI 2.0 fills in the investment gap for social services and contributes further to social inclusion in Europe, EASPD proposes amendments to the European Commission proposal for policy makers to consider.
The amendments cover three main areas:
- Capacity building by significantly strengthening access to technical assistance at national and regional level;
- Better targeting by creating sectoral investment platforms at national and regional level for sectors with limited access to EFSI
- Earmarking for social infrastructure to support social and economic inclusion in Europe; in particular for the growing numbers of disadvantaged people and the over 120 million people living in poverty and social exclusion in Europe.
I call on members of the European Parliament and the Council to ensure that EFSI 2.0 makes a real difference for people in Europe and creates the right environment which will allow people and society to thrive” adding “what better way is there to do just that than by investing and modernising social services, schools, hospitals and social housing. This would create a win-win situation: creating new jobs and creating an enabling environment for all.
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