CESI@noon/EPC policy dialogue ‘Putting social investment first’

9 Mar 2017

On last week Friday, March 3, CESI and the European Policy Centre (EPC) held a joint CESI@noon/EPC policy dialogue on 'Putting social investment first: Time for a new narrative for Europe'. The event not only saw the publication of an EPC study on ways towards more social investments in Europe but also continues CESI's engagement for more public social investments in Europe.

CESI@noon/EPC policy dialogue ‘Putting social investment first’

This CESI@noon/EPC policy dialogue was the final event presenting the findings of a cycle of three previous joint expert workshops of an EPC-CESI cooperation on social investments:

• A workshop on measuring the efficiency of social investments in October 2015
• A seminar in February 2016 on the integration of a concept of social investment in the macro-economic and fiscal governance instruments of the EU
• An expert meeting on indicators for a better integration of the social investment concept and a move towards upwards social convergence in June 2016

Reflections on ‘Social investment: Time for a new narrative for Europe’ were given by Allan Larsson (Special Adviser on the European Pillar of Social Rights, European Commission), Lukas Vesely (Economic adviser to MEP Maria João Rodrigues), Conny Reuter (Secretary General, Solidar) and Gunnar Muent (Director for Innovation and Competitiveness, European Investment Bank). The session was chaired by Lieve Fransen, Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre and former Director for Social Policy at the European Commission. There was a shared agreement on the continued need of additional public social investments alongside measures to make existing social expenditure more effective and forward-looking.

EPC in-depth study on ways towards more social investments in Europe

A study by the EPC summing up, evaluating and assessing the findings of the workshops was presented by Claire Dhéret, Senior Policy Analyst in charge of social investment at the EPC. The study also follows up on a recently launched advocacy campaign by CESI, Social Platform and Eurodiaconia on the feasibility of additional budgetary flexibility for certain public social investments by Member States without violating the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger, who also delivered the opening address at the CESI@noon/EPC policy dialogue, said: “Our advocacy campaign is a practical result of our cooperation with the EPC, with the aim to bring discussions from a technical and mostly academic to a political level with clear, broken-down messages. Our cooperation with the EPC is also an outcome of member organisations approaching us and reporting about continued cuts in public services and public administrations, which compromises on their capacity to deliver sufficient and high-quality services to the citizens.”

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger: Enable additional public social investments under the SGP

The CESI@noon/EPC policy dialogue formally closed the cooperation project between the EPC and CESI on social investment; nevertheless CESI and the EPC will continue to drive together the case for more public social investment in Europe. Klaus Heeger added: “Together with our partners we have already had several discussion sessions with experts and decision-makers, including with MEP Maria João Rodrigues and the cabinets of the Commissioners Dombrovskis and Thyssen. We are encouraged to see that the topic is gaining momentum on the political agenda. We hope the European Commission will soon work on a methodology to identify public social expenditure as investments with returns that should be exempted from the SGP’s budgetary deficit calculations.”

For further information: Hendrik Meerkamp, Policy adviser CESI, meerkamp@cesi.org.

Picture: Claire Dhéret, Lieve Fransen and Klaus Heeger © European Policy Centre (EPC) 2017