On the one hand the report duly acknowledges that 13 European countries* have a “well-established social investment approach to many social policies” which also “tend to preserve and further develop good institutional linkages between different policy areas, especially when they are addressing key social challenges”.
However, on the other hand the report also finds that policies in nine European countries** only feature isolated elements of a social investment approach – while a “social investment approach has not so far made many significant inroads into the overall policy agenda” of another 13 countries.***
The report states Italy as an example of this latter group of countries. Here, the report reads: “There has been a reduction in financial resources for public services (…), i.e. the main providers of services and benefits. This reduction is likely to jeopardise the service delivery capacity of local authorities as demonstrated by a 23.5% general decrease in their investments which occurred between 2008 and 2012.”
As a European trade union confederation representing several million public sector workers from many European countries to the EU, CESI has for long called to recognise the necessity to maintain strong public sectors which have the capacity to ensure quality services of general interest. CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “Social investments are vital to keep the societies functioning – but they always require strong public services for their implementation in the first place. In the presence of austerity and continued cuts in public administrations, social investments will always have a hard time in Europe.”
The full report, as released by the European Commission, is available here.
* Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia.
** Cyprus, Spain, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, the UK.
*** Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, FYROM, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey.