The European Social Policy Network (ESPN) was established in 2014 to provide the Commission with independent information, analysis and expertise on social policies.
In particular, the ESPN supports the Commission in monitoring progress towards the EU social protection and social inclusion objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy, including lifting at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion, and in the European Semester.
The ESPN provides the Commission with:
- a comprehensive overview of policies addressing key challenges in the areas of social protection (such as pensions, health care and long-term care) and social inclusion in the countries covered, including their strengths and weaknesses
- assessments on whether the policies reflect the social investment approach.
The ESPN assists the Commission and participating countries in:
- strengthening and advancing the role of social policies in national and European policy-making
- ensuring that economic and financial policies better take into account social protection and social inclusion objectives.
The ESPN brings together into a single network the work previosly carried out by:
- the European Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion
- the network responsible for the Analytical Support on the Socio-Economic Impact of Social Protection Reforms (ASISP).
It also acts as the secretariat to the MISSOC (Mutual Information Systems on Social Protection).