• 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 Monday, August 03, 2015
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Welfare and Welcome

16 July 2015

Even if the summer is very much underway, the social situation in Europe does not change. This week saw an agreement among the EU member states on Greece, but the social reality has not changed. Our members in Greece tell us of their real fear for groups who have less access to social services and social protection, such as migrants, and it is not clear yet what the social legacy will be of this time of crisis. What is clear however, at least to us, is that there needs to be more social Europe, not less, and that we need to find ways to ensure upwards social convergence across all the 28 member states. Over the autumn, we will be looking at proposals for minimum and adequate social standards in Europe as a way to start the move towards such convergence.

Even a challenging social situation does not prevent people from wanting to come to Europe. So also over the autumn, we want to work with members to see how we can contribute to the debate on migration policy in Europe and how we can ensure the basic rights of those coming to Europe, ensure their dignity and develop the services that provide possibilities for integration, inclusion and employment. For now, we hope that the reduction in the number of deaths in the Mediterranean remains and that no one dies trying to come to Europe.

The welfare of all people in Europe, regardless of politics, origin or status, must be a priority. I hope that after the political and humanitarian shocks of the past few months our political leaders will put people at the heart of all future discussions and decisions!

Finally, I am really pleased that our 45th member has joined our network! Diaconia Spain is a platform of 90 protestant churches and diaconal organisations in Spain: it coordinates social project activities (to support youth, families, immigrants, women, victims of human trafficking, homeless people, Roma people, older people, students etc.) and represents its members to the Spanish government. We are delighted they are joining us and look forward to their participation in Eurodiaconia. They have much to bring and share with us all. You can read more about them here.

It is well and truly holiday time now, so this will be our last E-news until the 4th of September. However do not forget that you can sign up for our events and activities that are taking place over the autumn!

 

Have a great summer!

Heather

 

 
This week's Editorial: #socialeurope

10 July 2015

This week's focus has once again been on Greece with some hard words being said by all. I have been struck when listening to some of the institutional partners how little the social situation of people is given as a reason to find solutions. To some degree the debate has become a technical one, but from another perspective it can sound like a playground spat with name calling and daredevil tactics. How does this ensure that all people in Greece and elsewhere in Europe live in dignity with their needs and fundamental rights met?

That is why this week we have supported a statement from Social Platform as to how social justice needs to be at the heart of the negotiations on Greece and for Europe as a whole. As stated in the letter, the situation in Greece reminds us that the rights and well-being of all people in Europe must be at the heart of European policies, and that agreed reforms must be socially just. You can read the full letter here and let's hope that the discussions taking place this weekend will put #socialeurope first.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 
Solidarity and Commitment

3 July 2015

It seems that right now everyone has something to say about Greece, the coming referendum and the future financial and social stability of this proud country. There is a lot to say, to ask and to discuss and we will see after Monday how those discussions will be framed and hopefully agreed. But it is important that the reality of everyday life in Greece is not forgotten among all the intrigue of the Eurozone and Brussels. This week I spoke with a Christian leader in Athens who told me how life seems to be suspended at the moment with people not knowing what is happening or what will be happening. The diaconal work of churches is needed now more than ever, not just to provide immediate material assistance but also to be bearers of hope and encouragement. I can only hope that wisdom will be the key word in the coming days, as decisions are made that will affect multiple generations for a long time to come.

But I also saw hope this week from young people fighting poverty across Europe. The Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe currently has “addressing poverty in Europe” as its theme, and has undertaken study sessions, communications campaign and advocacy work to present how young people can address poverty among young people. One of the things they have been doing is that once a month, for the past year, all members committed to doing a simple act of kindness in sharing a sandwich with someone who may otherwise not eat. To some this may seem like a traditional act of charity, to me it is an act of solidarity and commitment.

Addressing the social and economic challenges of Europe, not only Greece, will need that solidarity and commitment to long term systemic changes, starting with properly assessing the social impact of all policy decisions at all levels and ensuring that the dignity and care of all people is prioritised.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 
Whose voice is heard?

26 June 2015

At our recent Annual General Meeting, we were challenged by one of the speakers on user involvement. We had spent a very dynamic week discussing social challenges in Europe from many different perspectives, but we were missing the perspective of those most affected - people experiencing poverty, migrants, young people and others. This was a very correct challenge to us and one we need to work on in the coming months. We know it happens in our members, but how do we do that on a European level that is not tokenistic?

I was reminded of this over the last few days, as European leaders debate the Greek situation and discuss how to better address migration into Europe. I wonder: where are the voices of the refugees from Eritrea or the pensioners from Greece? They are not in the Council or Commission discussions, yet the decisions taken will affect their lives and situations dramatically. In fact, it is difficult to hear consideration of the social reality in these discussions. There must be balance between social and economic issues and yes, there needs to be new approaches in both migration and the situation in Greece, but putting people first must be the starting point for sound and sustainable social and economic policies.

We all need to find new ways and the right ways to ensure the voices of all are heard in every discussion - the European institutions could lead by example.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 
Filling Gaps - Bringing Hope

19 June 2015

This time last week, we were concluding our Annual General Meeting in Barcelona. Hosted by the Spanish Reformed Church, nearly 90 delegates spent three days discussing how diaconal organisations fill gaps and bring hope in Europe. We were inspired by three thought provoking key note speakers, particularly on how we exercise hospitality in Europe, how we respond to increasing social inequalities, how we engage users of our services, migrants and people experiencing poverty in our work and how we respond to the migrants’ fundamental needs in Europe.

It was clear across the discussions that we are doing a lot but that there is even more to be done. We may also have to change and adapt to meet the emerging needs in Europe. In particular, increased migration and social deprivation will require both short term and long term changes in how we support and serve people. Seeing how some of our members in Italy and Spain have been both dynamic and fluid in their responses was inspiring to many of our members that can find the size of their organisations a stumbling block to contextual change.

We also elected four new members of our Supervisory Board and said goodbye to Davide Rosso who had been on our Board for 4 years, and also to Jarmo Kökkö who had been our chairperson for 6.5 years. It was an emotional moment to say goodbye but also a moment to congratulate Carla van der Vlist from Kerk in Actie who has been elected as the new Chairperson.

Altogether it was an amazing week with lots of hope and vision for both practical and political contributions to a renewed social Europe - one that we hope will have less gaps.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 
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