Social Platform selected as member of European Commission expert group on structural funds

Last week we were informed that the European Commission has selected Social Platform to be part of the structured dialogue group of experts on the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds, whose call for applications was published last summer.

Social Platform has been advocating for the orientation of decisions on the EU budget towards the interest and well-being of people. In particular, we have developed proposals on the Common Provisions Regulation and the European Social Fund (ESF) Regulation to ensure that ESI Funds for the years 2014-2020 provide adequate funding for social inclusion, the fight against poverty, access to quality employment and services, and the promotion of equal opportunities for all, including the fight against discrimination.

As civil society organisations have significant experience in the use of these funds to carry out projects at grassroots level, we also advocated being recognised as full partners, together with regional and local authorities, and social partners in all phases of ESI Funds.

As in many member states, EU funds have become a very important source of public funding for social and economic development; indeed, most of the national members of our members use ESI Funds.

On the basis of information gathered through our members (covering the territory of all 28 member states), the specific interest of Social Platform in ESI Funds is to engage in a dialogue with the European Commission and member states and share our expertise in the following areas:

  • The involvement of social NGOs and social economy in the implementation of partnership agreements by member states
  • How some specific pre-conditions (ex ante conditionalities) are implemented by member states (those concerning the promotion of social inclusion and combating poverty, anti-discrimination, gender equality, disability and promoting the shift from residential to community-based care)
  • How ESI Funds  (in particular ESF and ERDF) are used to contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 Strategy’s targets on poverty and social exclusion, employment and education
  • How ESI Funds (in particular ESF and ERDF) are used to develop sustainable and quality employment
  • How ESI Funds are used to promote social investment and social economy, and to develop quality social and health services
  • How the ESF (20% earmarking) is used to promote social inclusion and fight against poverty , including the development of active inclusion policies, and to guarantee adequate social protection systems.

We are looking forward to the first meeting and starting our dialogue with the Commission, our members and other European civil society organisations.