Through six parallel workshops, participants will exchange expertise and brainstorm ways to bring the EU closer to people. Social Platform will use the results as input to its policy work on promoting socio-economic justice.

During these workshops, we will answer the following questions:

  • What is the added value of the EU working on this topic?
  • What does the EU already do in this field, and what is the state-of-play?
  • What could still be done?
  • What are key recommendations?

Workshop 1 – The economy of wellbeing starts at work

Co-organised by CECOP-CICOPA Europe & SOLIDAR

Against a backdrop of debate on the future of work and the challenges presented by new technologies and forms of employment, workshop 1 will address the topic of quality jobs. In light of Finnish EU Presidency discussions on the economy of wellbeing, speakers will discuss what quality employment and wellbeing at work entail in today’s world of work.

Participants will examine the future of work trends and their influence on the quality and sustainability of jobs, as well as looking at implications for the future of social protection. Panellists will outline factors that lead to social justice from an economic point-of-view and discuss the cooperative model as a solution. Moreover, a concrete example will be shared from Finland of how new forms of employment are affecting the daily lives of workers and how the cooperative model is responding to these challenges.

The workshop will be followed by an interactive session in which participants will identify policy recommendations.

The workshop will contribute to Social Platform’s policy work on ‘making the economy work for people’, focusing on the need to renew political commitment to the European Pillar of Social Rights and Social Europe by ensuring that work-related principles are fully implemented.

Study Visit

A study visit will take place to explore further the themes of the workshop.

Workshop 2 – Health equity and social justice

Organised by European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

Social justice and health equity are two sides of the same coin: social inequalities drive health inequities, and vice versa. Many of the harmful effects of poverty and social exclusion manifest themselves as health problems, which further exacerbate poverty and social exclusion, creating a vicious cycle. For instance, people who are exposed to socio-economic vulnerabilities experience higher rates of poor health, such as mental ill-health and obesity, and impaired access to adequate prevention, treatment and care. The costs associated with this state of affairs – many of which again manifest as health-related – are a major burden on the European economy and significantly hinder people’s life chances and social mobility.

Workshop 2 will explore how socio-economic policies can promote health equity and how health policies can promote social justice, exploring this multi-dimensional dynamic. This will help align these perspectives for the creation of a strong, integrated policy agenda for a Europe with the wellbeing of people at its core.

Study Visit

A study visit will explore a practical initiative that connects the health and social justice agendas. The visit aims to deepen understanding of the interlinkages between health and social affairs, and inspire the workshop discussions with real-life experience.

Workshop 3 – Homelessness in Europe

Organised by the the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)

Ensuring the right to decent, affordable housing is rapidly becoming a priority on the EU agenda. The European Pillar of Social Rights includes principle 19 on housing and assistance for the homeless. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda commits the EU and Member States to eliminating extreme poverty and ensuring the right to decent, affordable housing for all. Decent housing is a key component of wellbeing and a pre-determinant of health. Tackling housing problems emerged as a key priority in the European election campaign. In the context of a new European Commission and Parliament, workshop 3 will bring together experts, policy-makers and stakeholders to discuss the state of homelessness in Europe and what can be done about it.

The workshop will provide an overview of the extent and nature of homelessness, and the perceptions held by the European population. Panellists will present concrete and practical ways the EU can support Member States in their efforts to prevent and tackle homelessness. The workshop will then zoom in on the successful Finnish approach to homelessness, which made Finland the only EU Member State where the number of homeless people has consistently decreased over the last decade. Participants are invited to contribute to the debate and co-construct a proposal for a European strategy on the urgent issue of homelessness.

Study Visit

A study visit to Y-Säätiö will explore Finland’s trend-bucking success in tackling homelessness through an ambitious Housing First strategy. Y-Säätiö is one of the biggest social housing providers in Finland and a key player in the provision of housing solutions to homeless people. It is at the origin of the Housing First approach in Finland and brought it to scale. The success of Finland’s homelessness policies are to a great extent related to the consistent application of this approach.

Workshop 4 – Long-term care

Co-organised by AGE Platform Europe, COFACE Families Europe and Eurocarers

Access to long-term care is a pressing policy issue. Demand for services is increasing, driven by demographic ageing and new social realities. However, most EU countries are currently unable to guarantee access to quality services to all who need it.

There are strong dignity- and equity-based, as well as economic arguments in favour of enforcing the right to long-term care, and the EU has shown increasing interest in having further involvement in this area.

Workshop 4 will explore the status quo in Europe and the potential for further EU action on long-term care. It will also seek to gather participants’ ideas around what policy initiatives the EU should put forward and will produce a set of recommendations for the Finnish EU Presidency’s high-level conference on the economy of wellbeing. Organisers will use the ideas gathered to influence the hearings for the next European Commissioners at the European Parliament.

Study Visit

A study visit will explore family carers’ experiences and the quality of long-term care for older people. The 30-minute long dance film ‘Yours, my love’ is based on the PhD thesis written by Ulla Tikkanen. The thesis and the dancing reflect the feelings of both family carers and those in need of care, at home and in institutions. It is all about the power of love, the state of bondedness, and the pain of giving up. After the film, there will be a discussion with participants facilitated by Ulla Tikkanen, Tiina Lindfors who choreographed the film, and some NGO representatives from the field of care for older people in Finland.

Workshop 5 – How best to fund community-based social services?

Organised by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)

Social services provide the necessary support that enables millions of people to participate actively in life, to be in employment, to be educated and to relax and enjoy leisurely activities. They not only impact the lives of people with support needs themselves, they are often equally important for their families and friends and, consequently, for businesses and society as a whole. Social services are crucial to the economy of wellbeing.

With shrinking budgets, increasing demand and evolving social needs, Europe is asking social services to do more with less money. In this context, we must be clearer about what we want to achieve and create the right instruments to achieve it. If the objective is an economy of wellbeing, then it is important to identify which funding models are best suited to make this happen.

Workshop 5 will allow participants to discuss which funding model (reserved markets, public procurement, personal budgets or private investment) is best suited to the development of quality care services. The outcome will be to give a clearer picture as to how social services should be funded if they are to contribute to the economy of wellbeing.

Study Visit

A study visit will introduce participants to Aurinkolinna, a service providing 24/7 support to 20 young people with support needs. The young people have known each other since a young age and wanted to live close to one other. The service is tailored to each individual based on their support needs and hopes. The main concept of the service is strong self-determination, active support and collaboration with the families.

Workshop 6 – Funding a long-term comprehensive approach to migrant inclusion at local level

Co-organised by Mental Health Europe, the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and the Research Social platform On Migration and Asylum (ReSOMA)

Negotiations on the next long-term EU budget (the multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027) will have an important impact on the structure of EU funding concerning the inclusion of migrants. For the first time, the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) includes a thematic objective directly targeting the inclusion of third-country nationals, and new proposals for the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) – which focuses on the early stages of inclusion – foresee a relevant increase in its budget.

However, the success of migrant inclusion will strongly depend on how the programming of funds is managed at national level, and which priorities, included in the policy objectives of these funds, will be given precedence by Member States.

Workshop 6 will bring together different stakeholders to discuss current challenges in the definition of these funds, synergies across different funding instruments, the level of accessibility of funding and the subsequent impact on the work of civil society organisations and local authorities.

Study Visit

A study visit will introduce participants to the Centre of Psychotraumatology, which provides treatment to tortured and traumatised refugees and asylum-seekers and their family members, including seriously traumatised children and adolescents.

Funded by the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA) and the EU’s AMIF fund, the centre consists of three multidisciplinary units: a torture survivors team, a war trauma team and a children and youth team.

The centre also offers nationwide consultation, education and supervision services for health care and other professionals working with tortured refugees and asylum seekers.

About ReSOMA – The Research Social platform On Migration and Asylum

Policy-making in the migration, asylum and integration field needs accurate and reliable knowledge. Politicians at all levels, civil society representatives and researchers need suitable ways of working together in the face of a rapidly changing environment. The ReSOMA project, of which Social Platform is a member, is the initiative mobilising for sustained, regular policy dialogue across Europe and facilitating policies based on evidence. In a unique partnership of European civil society and local authority organisations, think-tanks and research networks, ReSOMA creates new opportunities for consultation and provides policy-relevant expertise. Launched in 2018, ReSOMA is a two-year project supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme.