5 June 2014, Brussels
All over Europe, formerly ‘passive’ social protection systems are undergoing substantial reform. Under the policy agendas of activation and more recently, social investment, welfare states are seeking to simultaneously increase the labour market participation of formerly excluded groups (such as women, youth, elderly people and migrants) and the efficiency of employment services. In order to achieve these goals, policy-makers have not only introduced programmatic policy changes (such as curtailing the duration or eligibility of/for benefits) but also changes to the governance systems through which social policies are administered. Especially the local governance level has come to play an important role under ‘new welfare’ because it is here where employment incentives and measures can be tailored most effectively to individual client cases as well as regional labour market characteristics.
In June 2014, four international research projects funded by the European Commission under the call “Local welfare systems favouring social cohesion” – COPE, FLOWS, LOCALISE and WILCO – presented their policy-relevant findings to an audience of policy-makers, researchers, and interested others in Brussels. The aim of the conference was to fuel a constructive dialogue between practitioners and researchers.