The European Social Policy Network (ESPN) provides high quality and timely independent information, advice, analysis and expertise on social policy issues in the EU, in neighbouring countries and in third countries. It was established in 2014.
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 the European Pillar of Social Rights, 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.
It provides the Commission with a comprehensive overview of policies on social protection (i.e. pensions, healthcare and long-term care) and social inclusion in the countries covered, including their strengths and weaknesses, and identifies areas most in need of further social investment.
It also acts as the secretariat to the MISSOC (Mutual Information Systems on Social Protection).
At the heart of the ESPN are country teams of independent experts on social policies. They are supported and coordinated by a central team of international experts.