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This briefing has been drafted in the framework of a round table organised by the European Social Network (ESN) at the European Parliament (EP) to discuss the use of European Union (EU) funding to develop new models of social care and social services.

As the European network for social services, ESN works closely with the EU to contribute towards the development of European social inclusion policies and to facilitate the design of financing strands for the social services sector. In this context, ESN advocates for the interest of the sector, supporting social services departments in public authorities, people using social services and providers, as well as assisting its members in building partnerships and exchanging good practices.

The round table took place next to the annual meeting of ESN’s Reference Group on the European Semester which discussed the impact of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans on social services. Members reviewed three key policy areas related to children’s services, long-term care, and support for homeless pêople in their national plans. An overall conclusion is that a focus on up-to-date models for social services’ support was largely missing, and where there was a focus on social services, it was mainly linked to institutional infrastructure rather than promoting a model of care based at home and in the community.

This briefing summarises the discussions with MEPs on the gaps identified in funding by social services and the examples of EU-funded social services programmes while exploring what can be done by the Commission and the European Parliament to make EU funds more accessible for social services to address social needs.