On an international level, the EU and international frameworks like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a supporting role when it comes to social policy implementation through funding and policy recommendations. At ESN, we connect policy-makers at European and international level, and social services at local level. By doing this we bring local knowledge to European and international policies, and inform social services at local level of European initiatives.

Our work with members

Set-up in 2014 our Reference Group of leaders in social services carries out analysis and recommendations for the European Semester. 

The European Semester is an annual economic and social policy cycle between the European Commission and the Member States. We organise meetings between the group and European Commission officials to raise awareness of the issues facing social services, so that these can be addressed in the European Commission’s policy guidance to national governments.

Each year we organise a meeting of our members and publish a report summarising the key messages from the perspective of public social services.

2014: Meeting Report
2015: Meeting Report 
2016: Meeting Report 
2017: Meeting Report
2018: Meeting Report
2019: Meeting Report

Meeting of the Reference Group on the European Semester, Brussels, 2018

In 2018 we launched a Working Group on the SDGs to help our members to understand how they contribute to the implementation of the SDGs through their local programmes, and to highlight to UN policy-makers the role played by public social services in the implementation of the SDGs.

Each year we organise a meeting of our members and publish a report summarising the key messages from the perspective of public social services.

2018 Meeting I Report

2019 Meeting I Report

2020 Meeting I Report

Our contribution to the European level

We provide feedback and input on EU initiatives, to champion the priorities of social services.

The Europe 2020 strategy launched in 2010 aims to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. 

  • See our response to the mid-term review

The 2013 Social Investment Package is a policy framework encouraging investment across the life-cycle, from childcare to long-term care for older people.

  • See our paper on long-term care and the Social Investment Package (2013)
  • See our paper on active inclusion & social investment (2013)

The European Pillar of Social Rights endorsed in 2017 sets out rights for European citizens based on 20 principles.

  • See our response to the consultation on the Pillar 

The 2019 European elections was the opportunity for European citizens to vote in Member of the European Parliament

  • See our European Parliament Elections Briefing  to discover our analysis of how the different European political parties plan to support social services, and our recommendations for Members of European Parliament.

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are a significant source of support for social services programmes at local level. We have provided advice and guidelines for social services to help them access EU funds.

As well as providing advice for accessing funds, we also channel the recommendations of our members who use funds to EU policy-makers to improve the design and management of EU funds. In April 2019 we organised a meeting in the European Parliament with our members and MEPs on how the future generation of EU funds, particularly the new European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), can support quality social services. In February 2020, we organised a meeting in the European Parliament with our members and MEPs to discuss innovative ways to implement the European Fund for the Most Deprived.

ESN resources

External resources