EPSU Working Document on the Social Investment Package

(Brussels, 28 May 2013)
EPSU’s Executive Committee mid of April endorsed a first assessment of the Social Investment Package that focuses on the Communication “Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020”, COM(2013)83 final. The Social Investment Package is a part of a wider approach to modernize Europe’s social system and it is considered a long-term guidance on national reforms needed to make progress towards the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. The [Social Investment Package->http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=89&langId=en&newsId=1807&moreDocuments=yes&tableName=news], published on 20 February 2012, consists of the Communication “Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion”, a Recommendation “Investing in Children” and a number of Staff Working Documents, including on “Long-term care in ageing societies – Challenges and policy options”, on “Investing in Health”, on the follow up on the recommendation on active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market as well as the “3rd Biennial Report on Social Services of General Interest”. It can be seen as a new comprehensive initiative to focus welfare state and social policy reform on social investment, more efficiency, more effectiveness, better targeting and on poor people and vulnerable or disadvantaged people or groups. One important aspect is also how these reforms are or should be embedded into structures of European Economic Governance. EPSU welcomes that the EC recognises the importance of social investments and shows a clear will to shift to a social investment approach in a broad range of social policies, comprising in particular health care, long-term care, child care and measures to improve the integration of unemployed persons into the labour market. The non-binding character, the lack of specific resources and the inconsistency with current (binding) policies in the framework of the European Economic Governance present important obstacles to achieve the 2020 Strategy goals. The SIP provides a lot of policy recommendations and proposes many initiatives to follow up on the documents published end of February, but often clear indicators to monitor their implementation are lacking. EPSU strongly warns against the uncritical presentation and promotion of different instruments to stimulate funding in social investment in the Communication, in particular those involving private/commercial investors, such as Social Investment Bonds without assessing the conditions and the impact. For more details please read EPSU’s Working Document (in EN only).
The EPSU Secretariat is currently preparing a further assessment as well as own proposals as to the priority measures and initiatives. In this context we are particularly looking into the three documents dealing with investment in health care, long-term care/elderly care and child care. Please also have a look at an inspiring {{analysis and simulation for Austria}} prepared by the Chamber of Labour Vienna/Austria ({Arbeiterkammer Wien/Österreich}) {{that well illustrates the economic, budgetary and societal returns of a social investment policy using the example of child care services}}. The study (available in DE and EN) and written by Adi Buxbaum and Sybille Pirklbauer has been recently published and is entitled [“Social Investment: Growth, Employment and Financial Sustainability: Economic and Fiscal Effects of Improving Childcare in Austria”->http://www.akeuropa.eu/en/publication-full.html?doc_id=304&vID=43] (original title in German: [Investiver Sozialstaat: Wachstum, Beschäftigung und finanzielle Nachhaltigkeit. Volkswirtschaftliche und fiskalische Effekte des Ausbaus der Kinderbetreuung in Österreich->http://www.akeuropa.eu/de/publication-full.html?doc_id=304&vID=43]).