A historic opportunity for people in institutional care: EU Funds must be used to develop community-based alternatives in 2014-2020

A historic opportunity for people in institutional care: EU Funds must be used to develop community-based alternatives in 2014-2020

A Statement by the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG)

Dublin, 30th January 2014 – The European Union is currently preparing to implement the next seven years of the Structural and Investment funding. The framework put in place for this new programming period represents a historic opportunity to protect the rights of Europe’s most excluded people – those living in institutional care.

For the first time, the new regulations for the EU Cohesion Policy investment, adopted last December by the European Council and the European Parliament include specific references to support the “transition from institutional to community-based care”. This represents a commitment that EU Funds will not be used to perpetuate institutionalisation, but to develop the much needed community-based alternatives.  This commitment is crucial in the current times of austerity, as Member States can use EU Funds to cover the cost of transition to community-based services. Moreover, with the adoption of the European Code of Conduct on Partnership in the framework of the European Structural and Investment Funds on 7 January, the European Commission issued a strong signal to Member States that any future investments of EU Funds should be planned and implemented in close cooperation with civil society and other stakeholders.

The European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-Based Care (EEG) is a broad coalition which brings together stakeholders representing people with care or support needs, as well as service providers, public authorities and intergovernmental organisations. Since 2009, the EEG has advocated for changes in the legislation which would ensure that EU Funds support the reform of the care systems in the Member States, and for a more meaningful involvement of the civil society organisations. The EEG therefore welcomes this historic breakthrough in the EU’s legislative landscape, which should improve the situation of children and adults in institutional care or at risk of institutionalisation and facilitate real effective innovation in the social services sector.

ENIL, in the framework of its initiative the European Coalition for Community Living, has been a member of EEG since 2009.

To read the full statement by the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-Based Care, which includes recommendations to the European Commission, please click here.

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