ESN Publication on local priorities for the European Semester now online!
This report was undertaken with members and partners from 25 EU countries and aims to bring the perspective of local public social services into the European Semester debate. It consists of 25 country profiles, a set of 25 alternative Country-specific Recommendations, and a cross-country analysis.
Key messages outlined (available in section 5 of our report):
Important messages emerged from the analysis of social policies and services at the local level. They concern the European Semester process itself, and how to tailor it to the reality of local communities around Europe. They also suggest ways to use the Semester to have a positive impact on the lives of European citizens, especially the most vulnerable.
- Despite a move towards greater dialogue between the EU and its Member States in the past two years, regional and local authorities are rarely involved in EU policy making and evaluation. This is all the more important since many countries have increasingly decentralised the planning and provision of social services, devolving more power to local administrations.
- Regardless of national social welfare systems, common challenges exist. This shows the importance of cross-country feedback and the need for EU-wide efforts towards better welfare systems and service provision, especially for vulnerable groups.
- The fallout from the financial crisis remains significant for several countries. Fiscal consolidation continues to jeopardise social investment and 'socially sustainable' societies.
- Despite budgets constraints, positive, innovative trends must be noted. For instance, the increased use of evidence-based policy and practice can benefit both social services professionals and service users.