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The EU's Social Investment package

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

The EU's Social Investment package


COM(2013) 83 final – Communication: Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion



It provides guidance to EU countries on how to meet the Europe 2020 targets through more efficient and effective social investment including how best to use EU financial support.

It is accompanied by a number of other documents including Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’. Together, they form the EU Social Investment package.



The communication identifies a number of specific social challenges:

changing demographics - a shrinking working population and an increase in older people

room for more efficiency in social policies

the need for private and non-profit organisations to complement the public sector

the need to invest in human capital throughout life and ensure adequate livelihoods

the gender dimension - 12 million more women than men in poverty and women's total earnings on average 40% less than men.


The communication puts forward a number of proposals to address these challenges. These include recommendations for action by EU countries and measures to be taken by the European Commission to support EU countries.

Increase the sustainability and adequacy of social systems through simplification and better targeting

EU countries are urged to:

put greater focus on policies such as (child)care, education, training, active labour market policies, housing support, rehabilitation and health services

simplify benefit systems and their administration for users and providers, reduce administrative burdens as well as fraud, and increase their use.

The Commission supports EU countries by:

monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of social systems and their emphasis on social investment, with a view to also improving adequacy and sustainability.

setting up an expert panel to provide independent advice on effective ways of investing in healthcare.

Pursue investment policies that activate and enable through targeted, conditional and more effective support

EU countries are urged to take a number of measures including:

closing the gender pay gap and address other barriers to women’s and other underrepresented workers’ participation in the labour market

tackling homelessness through comprehensive strategies based on prevention, housing-led polices and reviewing regulations and practices on eviction.

Commission action to support EU countries includes:

clarifying EU rules on how state aid, internal market and public procurement apply to social services, through an updated Guide and regular exchanges of information with interested parties

making the public more informed of their social rights through more user-friendly Social Protection Guides.

Social investment through an individual's life

EU countries are urged to take a number of measures including:

implementing the Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ through a combination of cash and equivalent benefits, and access to quality early education, health and social services

implementing the Recommendation on ‘Policies to Reduce Early School Leaving’ and develop policies against early school leaving including prevention, intervention and compensation measures.

Commission supporting action includes:

improving recurrent data collection on the same subjects over a period of time, with a focus on children.

EU funding

With regard to EU funding, EU countries are urged to take a number of measures including:

addressing the many needs of disadvantaged people, including those living in poor and isolated areas, with coordinated action by European structural and investment (ESI) Funds.

The Commission will provide support through measures such as:

developing a knowledge bank with EU countries and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions to help share lessons learned, including both policy lessons and good practices from the ESI Funds.

EU initiatives

The communication also sets out a number of initiatives including measures to:

stimulate funding in social investment

support adequate livelihood / improve awareness of social rights

invest in children / early childhood education and care.



Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020 (COM(2013) 83 final of 20.2.2013)


Commission Recommendation of 20.2.2013 – Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage (C(2013) 778 final)

last update 11.01.2016