• Our work

    Eurodiaconia links diaconal actors to examine social needs, develop ideas and influence policies impacting Poverty and Social Exclusion, Social and Health Care Services and the Future of Social Europe.

    Eurodiaconia also provides a platform for transnational networking and best practice sharing.  


  • Our vision

    As the leading network for diaconal work in Europe, we look to develop dialogue and partnership between members and influence and engage with the wider society.  We do this to enable inclusion, care and empowerment of the most vulnerable and excluded and ensure dignity for all.


  • Our goals

    We aim to see a positive social change in Europe through:

    Praxis, enabling membership engagement and partnerships

    Advocacy, creating a network of competence to impact policies at European and national level

    Identity and values, supporting the development of approaches and thinking on Diaconia in Europe today


Calendar Sunday, December 21, 2014
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Other social policies

The EU budget, including the European Social Fund

Eurodiaconia works with partners to ensure a strong social agenda and therefore a strong budget for social issues. In this work Eurodiaconia is specifically working to facilitate access of not-for-profit social service providers to the European Social Fund and to broaden the Fund's scope to address social exclusion and poverty, by proposing changes to the programme.

Measuring growth and well-being
Eurodiaconia has produced a briefing on the discussions about how to move "beyond GDP" indicators to measure societal progress. Eurodiaconia is in contact with ecumenical partners to examine how to promote indicators that take into account more than just economic output.

Measuring Social Value
Eurodiaconia has published a briefing for members on tools to measure the added social value and economic impact of an organisation’s activities. Knowing the social value an organisation creates through its services can help justify funding as well as support advocacy for investing in social services.

Community Engagement and Development
Eurodiaconia co-organised a project, managed by interdiac, on examining methods and theories of community development, engagement and orgainising in diaconia. More information about the on-going work can be found in the articles below.

Social Economy
Eurodiaconia wrote a briefing looking at how the social economy is defined by different actors, and looks at different types of social economy activities. It includes a section on Work Integrating Social Enterprises. Eurodiaconia held a workshop at its 2011 AGM and conducted research among its members to understand how the social economy is seen in diaconia and how it can be supported as the European Commission discusses promoting the social economy, particularly in the light of the Social Business Initiative. This led to a discussion document for members which invited feedback and will link to Eurodiaconia's meeting on the Social Economy in June 2012.

Social Innovation
Innovation is currently one of the EU's buzz words. Within this the European Commission is promoting social innovation, in terms of supporting and facilitating the mainstreaming of innovative ways of meeting social needs. Eurodiaconia is taking part in the discussions at EU level with partner organanisations to ensure that actions publicised are carefully evaluated and really are examples of social innovation, as well as that tools for evaluation and scaling up of innovations are promoted.


Conference in Rome proposes strategy for the social economy

27 November 2014

A conference in Rome last week gathered around 200 participants from across Europe to debate the topic "Unlocking the potential of the social economy for EU growth". Many issues of relevance for Eurodiaconia members were discussed in workshops, including The role of EU Structural Funds for supporting the Social Economy, The contribution of research, education and statistics, Financial instruments and intermediaries and Collaborating with the public sector: public procurement and not only. Laura Jones spoke in the workshop on public procurement on behalf of Social Services Europe, stressing the importance of quality social services, investment in the sector and the job creation potential.

The workshops developed recommendations which fed into a strategy to promote and support the sector. It states that a coordinated, shared and active engagement on the part of all the actors, including both public institutions and social economy organisations is necessary. The Rome Strategy can be read here.

The conference was also preceded by a consultation, to which Eurodiaconia responded based on its policy paper Social Enterprises for Social Inclusion. Numerous areas of interest to Eurodiaconia are addressed in the strategy. They call on the European Commission to propose a strategy to support the sector, to include it in the Europe 2020 strategy, to publish guidelines on public procurement so auhtorities know how to use it to support the social economy, to proceed careful with social impact measurement innitiatives to ensure it really supports the sector and to promote social investment.Other recommendations include to promote collaboration among actors and management skills in the sector.


European Commission publishes study on social enterprises across Europe

25 November 2014

The European Commission has published an in-depth study outlining the main features of social enterprises in 28 EU Member States and Switzerland using a common definition and approach. It also gives an overview of social enterprise "eco-systems", or policy and legal frameworks, across countries, including factors constraining and promoting their development. The study found that only eight countries (Bulgaria, Greece, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden, and United Kingdom) have a policy framework in place to encourage and support the development of social enterprises. However, social enterprise policy is being developed in seven countries (Ireland, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, and Romania).

This study is pitched as the first stage in developing a comprehensive map of social enterprises in Europe and the Commission is inviting feedback to expand their knowledge of the reality of social enterprises in the EU and Switzerland, via an online feedback form.

The study follows up on the Social Business Initiative launched by the Commission in 2011 (see here for Eurodiaconia article on this). 

Barriers faced by social enterprises identified by the study include:

  • poor visibility and recognition of the sector,
  • the constraints of current legal and regulatory frameworks,
  • limited financial resources,
  • difficult access to markets,
  • and the lack of business support and development structures, training, and workforce development.

These points reflect a number of issues raised by Eurodiaconia members that were featured in Eurodiaconia's recent policy paper "Social Enterprises for Social Inclusion". Eurodiaconia will read the report and work on an analysis, so encourages members to read their country report and to let Laura Jones know if it is an accurate reflection of the situation and any additional comments they may have by the end of the year.

The study was based on existing academic materials and interviews with more than 350 stakeholders across Europe. It was supported by a team of five independent academics who provided methodological support, conducted peer reviews and reviewed the final report.

New policy briefs available on investing in children

22 July 2014

Eurodiaconia is a partner of the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) established by the European Commission. They have produced a number of new policy papers which may be of interest with good practices which you can find below.  

The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) is an evidence-based online platform which was launched in 2013. EPIC is managed by the European Commission and aims to provide information about policies, practices and programmes that can help children and their families face up to the challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe.

New Briefs
•    Policy brief 1: Social protection during the crisis (link)
•    Policy brief 2: Extending early childhood education and care to encourage labour market participation (link)
•    Policy brief 3: Early childhood education and care and its link to social mobility (link)

In addition, please find more information on the briefs produced in previous years below:
o    Brief on support for Children with Special Educational Needs (link)
o    Brief on parenting support (link)
o    Brief on demography & Inequality - How Europe's changing population will impact on income inequality (link)

Finally, EPIC will also be producing three new briefs this year, which will likely cover topics such as the quality of childcare and the relation between EU funds and childcare support.

Eurodiaconia makes recommendations on youth inclusion to Italian Presidency

1 July 2014

As Italy takes over the 6-month rotating presidency of the EU, Eurodiaconia has written a letter highlighting the issue of youth exclusion. We make recommendations to the EU to ensure a social investment approach, including the promotion of adequate social protection is mainstreamed into all EU-level processes, ensuring the sustainability of essential social protection systems and social and health services, and in particular to invest in youth work and youth services for the successful social and professional integration of young people. In the letter we also highlight the important role of social enterprises which enable people, including young people, to integrate or reintegrate into society, to access and retain employment and offer a route out of poverty and exclusion, reinforcing the socio-economic independence of service users.  Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE) are also highlighted, in particular their key role in integrating young people facing difficulties and discrimination.

Italy has held the presidency 11 times in the history of the Union and from 1 July to 31 December 2014, Italy is in charge of the presidency of the Council of the European Union again.

Download the full letter here (ENGLISH) (ITALIAN)

Visit the Italian Presidency official website here

Meeting report from seminar on innovation and development in social services now online

19 June 2014

The report from the Eurodiaconia seminar on supporting the development of social services and new approaches to meeting needs is now online and can be downloaded here.

From the 12-13 May Eurodiaconia members gathered at Diakonie Österreich’s offices in Vienna to exchange experiences on innovation and development in social services, from gathering information on needs of the community or service users, supporting an idea to become reality through to scaling up a project. Participants also discussed the concept of innovation, and the recommendations and principles of innovation found in the Social Platform paper on "meaningful" social innovation.

The group visited the AmberMed service (celebrating its tenth year in 2014); an integrated health centre for those without insurance run by Diakonie Österreich and the Austrian Red Cross. They heard how volunteer doctors, assistants and interpreters assist thousands of people a year through medical advice but also through health promotion and prevention activities.

Members heard about the outcomes of the Innoserv project and of research in Germany into innovation processes in the not-for-profit sector. The final sessions sought to get to the root of challenges and barriers to innovation both in the external environment, and internally; how to create an organisational culture where service improvement is promoted and innovation can flourish.

A toolkit for members on service development and innovation will be developed based on the discussions and information gathered during the seminar. For more information please contact Theresa Schlage.


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