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Increased longevity, medical advances, shrinking working-age population and changing family patterns mean that Member States of the European Union, while diverse, face a common challenge of growing needs for long-term care. Improving access to quality and affordable long-term care services, in particular to community-based care, provided by adequately qualified professionals, is therefore crucial across Europe.
In Norway, the growth of social entrepreneurship and social innovation has primarily been driven by individuals, enterprises and investors. Political interest in the field was demonstrated in 2011 with the establishment of a grant for social entrepreneurs who target their initiatives at combating poverty and social exclusion. The government that took office in autumn 2013 stated in its political platform that it would improve the conditions for using social entrepreneurs and the voluntary sector in the welfare system. Currently there are several ongoing initiatives to improve the conditions for social entrepreneurs, such as an inter-service working group consisting of nine ministries or a research project to assess framework conditions and schemes for supporting social entrepreneurship.
Promoting well-functioning and fair welfare systems across Europe is one of the key initiatives of the European Commission under the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights launched in 2017. This framework includes essential social protection rights for people across Europe, the administration of which crucially depends on effective data management systems.
In all EU Member States, single-parent families’ poverty rate is substantially higher than among two-parent families, according to the at-risk-of-poverty (AROP) indicator. In Belgium, this risk is particularly high, as one in two single parent families was at-risk-of-poverty in 2016, a ratio 2.6 times higher than for the total population.
In the first quarter of 2017 self-employed people made up 15% of the workforce in EU Member States.
Two new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social policy Network (ESPN) have just become available and provide information on recent social policy initiatives in the United Kingdom.
The Active Ageing Index (AAI) measures to what extent the potential of older people is used to contribute to the economy and society through paid and unpaid activities and through living independent, healthy and safe lives.
Belgium introduced the ‘Housing First’ (HF) model in eight cities to support homeless people with special needs: homeless people move into permanent housing as quickly as possible, and receive intensive social support in their homes whenever needed.
Ireland is in the process of developing a more coordinated and integrated approach to children’s services, aimed at tackling the complex problems of disadvantaged families in a more joined-up and holistic way. This Peer Review looked at Irish good practice and harnessed learning from other EU Member States.
The Dutch government’s declared aim is to move from a welfare state to a “participation society” built on citizens’ self-reliance and networking. Large parts of the social security system have been devolved to the municipalities, which are expected to follow an integrated approach to social services, while offering solutions tailored to each individual case. In response, most municipalities have set up Social Community Teams. This Peer Review, held in The Hague, discussed the use of SCTs to combat poverty.