• 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 Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Strengthening the social economy

17 July

This week Heather Roy is taking an active part in the informal joint meeting of EU Social, Labour and Environment Ministers which is taking place in Milan, under the auspices of the Italian Presidency. It is the first time that the Social Platform is invited to contribute and is fully associated to all ministerial debates. Heather is speaking as president of the Social Platform at the opening plenary on the poverty targets in the Europe 2020 strategy mid-term review as well as the plenary on the importance of the social economy. As the Italian presidency deals with the mid-term review, it is an important opportunity to stress the need to re-focus on the social objectives, rather than prioritising financial and economic goals. 

Heather will also have the opportunity to stress the importance of developing the social economy, which could contribute to reducing poverty and creating jobs, particularly in the social and health care sector. In particular, Eurodiaconia's policy position ‘Social enterprises for social inclusion’ (2014) fed into the Social Platform’s contributions to the workshop on the importance of social economy held today. In a letter to the Italian Presidency, Eurodiaconia recommended that EU-level actions are taken to support social enterprises of all types and that initiatives relating to financial support instruments for social enterprises do not only address private financing mechanisms, but also public.

Issues related to social impact measurement and financing instruments will also be discussed in Milan. Eurodiaconia has been working on these important issues together with partners and our members. In a seminar organised in June 2014, members discussed measuring the social and economic impact of social services as well as public and private financing. You can read the meeting report here.

Let’s hope the emphasis on the social economy under the Italian Presidency is a step in the right direction to a stronger social union, with a clearer focus on the social objectives of the EU 2020 strategy.

Have a lovely summer weekend,

Rosa

 
Alzheimer's in the news

10 July 2014

This week Alzheimer’s disease was in the news as research was published showing blood testing can identify certain proteins that predict the onset of dementia with 87% accuracy. The recently published report on the state of long-term care in the EU developed by the Commission with Member States got little publicity however, despite making important recommendations, many of which coincide with Eurodiaconia’s members recommendations as seen in our policy paper. These include an emphasis on the need for integration of social and health care and on prevention. We will be developing a response to the report with members at our Healthy Ageing and Long-term Care Network meeting in September.

As well as valuing and funding research into diagnosis and cures, we must also ensure funds go in to prevention, care and ensuring our living environments are “friendly” to all age groups. This reminded me of a community based approach that Diakonie Hessen has developed with the federal sports organisation in Germany that we heard about in one of our meetings last year. The programme, called “Moment!” combines mental with physical training to encourage people with dementia to use sports clubs in order to benefit from the positive effect of exercise, raise awareness about dementia in our society and “normalise” it, as well as strengthen the possibilities for participation of people with dementia in daily life.  

Another integrated, community approach that we will hear more about at the next Network meeting is the Diaconia Valdese project "Us with You – Ambassadors for Alzheimer’s”. The various elements of the project acknowledge, support, maintain, extend, demonstrate and ‘celebrate the possible’ in the lives of people with Alzheimer’s and offer them the opportunity to be advocates or ‘Ambassadors for Alzheimer’s’ in the local community. Members interested to know more are warmly invited to join the meeting. To promote further learning between organisations on what can be done for and with persons with dementia we would encourage other members to tell us about their initiatives in this field.

All of you interested in ageing and long-term care should check out the report I mentioned at the start, including the summary for your country (there is one for every EU member state). And remember that one of the benefits of living a healthy life now is to help prevent the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s. (A small health promotion “advertisement” to end with!)

Have a good weekend,

Laura

 
On the agenda...

3 July 2014

This week we had the opportunity to attend a meeting with Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council who gave a summary of the Council meeting held on 26th and 27th June. He explained that the Council adopted several key decisions such as the nomination of Jean-Claude Junker as President of the European Commission (to be finalised by a European parliament vote on 16th July), the adoption of the Country Specific Recommendations 2014, and the closing of this European Semester cycle. This week also saw Italy take over the rotating 6-month Presidency of the EU (see our letter to the Italian Presidency on youth exclusion).

Another key decision made by the Council was the adoption of a “strategic agenda for the Union in times of change”. This document aims to set the direction for the European Union’s legislative work for the next five years and emphasizes the European Union’s priorities for action through five objectives. Whilst we welcome the recognition of rising inequalities and its direct reference to the empowerment and protection of citizens in the text, Eurodiaconia has raised concern that Europe 2020 and particularly the poverty reduction objective risks getting lost in the midst of this new agenda. It also puts an unbalanced emphasis on economic growth and there is still no commitment to identifying and addressing the social impact of economic reforms (see our press release here on these new strategic priorities). The press release prompted a request from the European Parliament magazine to write for them - see here for Heather's article.

If you would like to learn more about Europe 2020 and European Semester process, why it’s important and how to get engaged, please remember to register for our training seminar to take place in Brussels from the 25-26 September.

In this week’s issue you will also see members have an opportunity to feed into two policy papers which are being drafted or updated, one on intra-EU mobility and the other is on Roma inclusion. We look forward to members’ input!

Have a good weekend
Catherine

 
The who or the what?

27 June 2014

As I write this on Friday morning there are helicopters whirring overhead, announcing that the European Council meeting is taking place in Brussels today.  On the agenda is the decision on who will be the next President of the European Commission.  There has been much in the media about this decision and we wait to see what the final outcome will be.  But whoever gets this role what they do in the role is perhaps of higher importance.  If the overarching policies of the European Commission continue to favour economic reform over social well being then nothing will have changed.  If we see a greater emphasis on economic growth rather than reducing inequalities then we will not have moved forward.  That is why as the European Council make their decisions today they need to focus on the what as well as the who - ensuring that the ongoing work of the European Commission is balanced between social and economic policies that ensure the well being of people and society and reduce structural and personal inequalities.  Let's see what happens...

have a good weekend

Heather

 
Looking back and looking forward

19 June 2014

If you missed our Enews last week it was because we were in Prague for our Annual General Meeting.  Over 80 participants from across our membership and partners gathered in the beautiful central European city where we were perfectly hosted by the Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren and Slezska Diaconia.  Our programme included our usual business session, study visits, workshops and a global cafe. Reading the evaluation forms this week I was inspired by one comment that 'there was a real sense of dynamism and enthusiasm' about the network and that this made others also want to get more involved.  Involvement was really evident from full workshops on how to get involved in the mid term review of the European Semester to how to develop a values driven approach in diaconal care. Workshops organised by members were particularly popular and included reflections on community based services and institutionalised services, developing the CABLE approach to social care and youth inclusion projects.

Looking back at our AGM I can see how our members inspire and motivate each other and create sparks of ideas when they are together that go on to be bigger and brighter.. and it is those ideas that came to the fore in our concluding global cafe session where members started to identify our future actions as Eurodiaconia.  Of course, the challenge is always to make bright ideas as concrete and impactful as possible but our members gave us really helpful pointers for our future work, starting as soon as 2015.

So what will the future hold.. well, watch this space!

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
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