Flagship Conference

About the conference

Conference programme


Conference venue

Partnerships & cooperations

Flagship Conference 2018

2019 “Building Social Europe” conference will took place in Helsinki, Finland on 16-18 September. Read participants’ recommendations here.

The second Flagship Conference will take place during a very crucial time: European leaders will be preparing the next EU legislature following the European elections results, negotiating, nominating and electing the future European Commission and filling in EU top jobs. All this will be taking place against the backdrop of growing popular mobilisation for greater social justice and democracy, stopping and reversing an environmental crisis and securing the future for the next generations. As civil society organisations active in the social sector, we will take a leading role in that debate and we will take our responsibility to make sure that the common good prevails over the interest of a few.

Our Flagship Conference will be an opportunity for our members and actors from a wider European social movement to debate with national and EU level decision-makers on how the European Union can prevent further decay in social justice, democracy and trust in the EU.

In particular we will look at:

1. Participatory democracy: How can civil society become the missing link between people and decision-makers?
2. Social justice: How to make the economy work for people?


16 September, Monday

11:00 – 13:00 Registration
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 15:00 Public action
16:00 – 16:30 Opening and welcome – watch live stream here

  • Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director General, EU and International Affairs, Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
  • Ronald Wiman, Europe Region President of the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) and Chair of the Finnish ICSW Committee
  • Piotr Sadowski, President of Social Platform

Key note speech:

  • President Tarja Halonen, Former President of Finland

16:30 – 18:00 Panel 1: Regaining people’s trust – addressing the EU’s democratic deficit through civil dialogue – watch live stream here

  • Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst and the Head of the European Politics and Institutions Programme, European Policy Centre
  • Gunta Anča, Chair of the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organisations (Sustento), Board member within the European Disability Forum
  • Laura Sullivan, Executive Director of We Move Europe
  • Maciej Kucharczyk, Vice-President of Social Platform

19:00 – 20:00 Reception by the City of Helsinki

Tuesday, 17 September

9:00 – 10:00 Plenary: Implementing the Social Pillar principles – watch live stream here

  • Kelig Puyet, Director of Social Platform
  • Rait Kuuse, Chair of Social Protection Committee (SPC)
  • Vertti Kiukas, Secretary General of SOSTE, Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health

10:00 – 12:00 Study visits/ Parallel workshops

  • The Economy of Well-Being starts at work (by CECOP-CICOPA Europe & SOLIDAR)
  • Health equity and social justice: aligning two policy agendas for a flourishing Europe (by EPHA)
  • Homelessness in Europe (by FEANTSA )
  • Long-term care (by AGE Platform Europe, COFACE Families Europe & Eurocarers)
  • Towards an economy of well-being: how to fund community-based social services? (by EASPD)
  • Funding for long-term integration of migrants (MHE, PICUM & ReSOMA)

Click here for more information about the workshops and study visits.

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:30 Study visits/ Parallel workshops   (continued)
14:30 – 15:00 break
15:00 – 16:30 Study visits/ Parallel workshops   (continued)
16:30 – 16:45 break
16:45 –  18:00 Plenary: reporting from study visits and workshops

19:00 Dinner

Wednesday, 18 September

9:00 – 10:00 High level round table with EU institutions and national governments – watch live stream here

  • Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Former President of Malta, President of Eurochild
  • Saila Ruuth, State Secretary to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health of Finland
  • Marija Pletikosa, State Secretary of the Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy of Croatia
  • Dr. Carsten Stender, Director-General for European and International Employment and Social Policy, ESF of the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
  • Kerstin Jorna, Deputy Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission (tbc)
  • Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director for Social Affairs in the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
  • Catherine Naughton, Vice-President of Social Platform

10:00 – 10:30 break

10:30 – 12:00 Panel 2: People first! How to create an economy that serves social justice – watch live stream here

  • Pia Pakarinen, Helsinki City Deputy Mayor for Education, Vice-chair of EUROCITIES Economic Development Forum
  • Enrico Giovannini, Economist and statistician, former Minister of Labour and Social Policies in Italy with past roles at OECD
  • Sherpa Gabriela Ramos, Chief of Staff, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (tbc)
  • Luc Cortebeeck, Former president and current member, Governing Body ILO
  • Claire Hédon, President of ATD Quart Monde
  • Leo Williams, Member of Social Platform Management Committee

12:00 – 12:30 Plenary: concluding remarks and closing – watch live stream here

  • Shannon Pfohman, Member of Social Platform Management Committee
  • Piotr Sadowski, President of Social Platform

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch and departures


VENUE: Folkhälsan, Topeliuksenkatu 20, 00250 Helsinki, Finland

This year’s Conference is organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland. The Conference will take place back to back with the Finnish EU High Level Presidency’s Conference on the Economy of Wellbeing. This topic is a priority of the Finnish Presidency with the aim of adopting Council Conclusions. A delegation from Social Platform will attend the Presidency conference and High level speakers of the Finnish Conference will participate in our Flagship event.


Our Flagship Conference 2019 is listed as an official side event of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the Europe Union 2019.

We are very grateful to SOSTE – Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health who provides enormous support in organising our Flagship Conference.


We express our gratitude to the City of Helsinki for organising a reception for our conference participants.

Flagship Conference 2018

The first Flagship Conference took place in November 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal and was organised in cooperation with the Portuguese Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security. The 2018 Flagship Conference primarily marked the first anniversary of the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, evaluated its implementation and identified actions needed for a meaningful implementation of the Pillar. More on our first Flagship Conference below.

Flagship Conference 2018

12053Flagship Conference

Flagship Conference 2018

On 29-30 November 2018, Social Platform in cooperation with Portuguese Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social...