Social investment is about investing in people. It means policies designed to strengthen people’s skills and capacities and support them to participate fully in employment and social life. Key policy areas include education, quality childcare, healthcare, training, job-search assistance and rehabilitation.
Europe is facing enormous challenges:
Economic crisis – unemployment and poverty and social exclusion levels have reached record highs. They are a huge drain on Europe’s human resources at a time when public budgets are under pressure.
Demographic changes – the working-age population in Europe is shrinking, while the proportion of older people is growing. Solutions must be found to ensure sustainable and adequate social protection systems.
The Commission’s Social Investment Package (SIP): guides EU countries in using their social budgets more efficiently and effectively to ensure adequate and sustainable social protection; seeks to strengthen people’s current and future capacities, and improve their opportunities to participate in society and the labour market; focuses on integrated packages of benefits and services that help people throughout their lives and achieve lasting positive social outcomes; stresses prevention rather than cure, by reducing the need for benefits. That way, when people do need support, society can afford to help; calls for investing in children and young people to increase their opportunities in life.
- Children and young people – early support to break the inter-generational transmission of disadvantage and address the severe youth unemployment problem
- Jobseekers – integrated and more accessible support for finding work, such as skills development
- Women – more equal opportunities, better access to the labour market and thus better social protection, notably in retirement
- Older people – more opportunities for active participation in society and the economy
- Disabled people – support for independent living and adapted workplaces
- Homeless people – help with reintegration into society and work
- Employers – a larger, healthier and more skilled workforce
- Our societies – higher productivity, higher employment, better health and social inclusion, more prosperity and a better life for all.