• 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 Thursday, September 18, 2014
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Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Asking the Questions....

11 September 2014

As I mentioned in last weeks' editorial this week we had a round table in the European Parliament to see how to develop partnership in combatting poverty and social exclusion across Europe. We were delighted that nearly 70 people, including a large number of MEP's and their advisors, came to this meeting and committed themselves to work with Eurodiaconia in finding new approaches to ensure social well being. We also had members present from Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Salvation Army Europe.  We talked about the need to engage with the economic discussions as well as the social policy discussions and the need to ensure that we do not forget aspects of rights. It is of course easy to say all of this but what we really need to see is action from both the European Parliament and the European Commission.  

The President - elect of the European Commission this week announced the composition of the college of Commissioners and their portfolios. It is this European Commission that will need to increase their commitment to balancing social and economic policies to ensure the development of both human and economic capital. I am hopeful about the initial statements and mission coming from the new Commission but I think there are some hard questions that need to be asked and answered:

1. The previous Commission committed itself and Member States to reducing poverty and social exclusion by 20 million people by 2020. However, we are collectively off-track in achieving this target and instead are seeing an increase in poverty in some Member States.   What will change in the approach to addressing poverty and social exclusion so that the target can be reached as planned by 2020?

2. The European Semester was designed as an instrument to help govern and guide the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy. However its focus has mainly been on the short term and on macro-economic and fiscal governance rather that the Europe 2020 vision of Smart, Sustainable Inclusive Growth or the attainment of the agreed targets.   How will the  European Semester be developed so that all the targets are met and that contradictions with economic governance are removed?

3. The outgoing Commission adopted the Social Investment Package, which provided policy guidance to Member States on the value of investing in social policies as a measure to ensure social cohesion and support growth and competiveness.  However such an approach is still lacking in the policies of the European Commission and in many Member States.  How will the social investement agenda which supports the development of social and health care service among others be promoted by the new Commission?

We have asked MEP's to ask these questions and we will be contacting Commissioners directly for their responses as well - perhaps you can do the same in your network?

One thing we do know for the new term is that we need to provide more evidence of the imapct of our intervetions and justification through data of the value of social investment.  That is why I am very excited about the 4th Biennial International Conference on Research on Diaconia and Christian Social Practice which will be held in Stockholm next week.  For the first time Eurodiaconia will be working with researchers and practitioners to develop a model for evidence based social service/policy interventions for use in Diaconia and we will also be developing our co-operation with three academic institutes to support wider publication of data and research gathered in our network.  Watch this space for an update on how our research activities are developing.

Have a good weekend,




We're Back!

4 September 2014

Hello and we hope you have had a good summer!  This week we are all back in the Eurodiaconia office and gearing up for a busy autumn.  In the next few days we will have a breakfast meeting in the European Parliament, hosted by five of the political groups, to present Eurodiaconia's key themes on how poverty and social exclusion can be addressed in Europe and in particular, how the European Parliament can be more active in calling for greater social and economic justice.  

Next week we will also hold a meeting in Sweden where we will look at how to develop employment in the social and health care sector, particularly in terms of skills and training and looking at how to make the sector more attractive as a career path.  We are partnering with Bracke Diaconia who are hosting this event and with Diakonie Deutschland and we hope that this could be the launch of a longer term project on this crucial topic.

Towards the end of the month we will have our annual seminar on the Europe 2020 strategy and the process of the European Semester.  It is particularly relevant this year as we are developing our contribution to the mid term review of the strategy.  If you are not already signed up please do so in the coming days!

We are also launching our research project on the financing of social services in the coming weeks as well as our research on the accessibility of social services for migrants so if you are a member please watch out for more news on how you can be involved in both these projects.

There is also a lot happening in Brussels.  We are still waiting for confirmation of the new European Commission and the European Parliament is now pretty much organised in terms of committees and groups.  We have been working with many of you to link with your MEP's and have also been working with the new parliament on framing questions to the new Commissioners in their parliament hearings later this month.  Watch this space for more information on that.

So, lots happening and lots to do but as ever, lots to gain for a more just, fair and equitable Europe.

have a great weekend




Last E-news before the summer break

This was the last busy week in Brussels before the summer as the European Parliament will now break for a five week holidays resuming on 1st September. In the office the team has been working on Eurodiaconia’s midyear report for Progress as well as preparing our forthcoming activities such as the Joint Network Meetings on Long Term Care and Employment in Diaconia (10-12 September, Gothenburg, Sweden) and the Europe 2020 Mid Term review: What track record, what opportunities? (25-26 September, Brussels). There are still some spaces available to participate so if you or one of your colleagues are interested, please register!

Eurodiaconia is also coordinating the organisation of a cross-party breakfast meeting to take place in the European Parliament on 9th September. The idea is to gather new and re-elected MEPs who would like to work particularly on poverty and social exclusion, with a specific perspective on the provision of social services, and social investment. To keep us busy in the coming weeks, the Eurodiaconia secretariat is working, among other things, on a final briefing on the fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, on a toolkit on funding, on a response to a European Commission consultation on "stakeholder guidelines" and on our 2015 work programme.

There will be no e-news over the summer break, but we are available in August as ever if you have any questions regarding Eurodiaconia, upcoming meetings or developing partnerships.

Wishing you a great summer,

The Eurodiaconia secretariat

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,


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,


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