AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
Social innovation is about generating positive societal change. It can play a
large role in advancing the EU’s political agenda, which is marked by the green,
digital and just transitions and, of course, the recovery from the socio-economic
impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. These transitions are transforming the world
of work, education and training and social services, and the way people live,
consume and participate in society.
Social innovation is a transversal concept that is relevant to a wide range of
policy f‌ields. Employment, social inclusion, education and skills, social protection
and delivery of social and health services are policy areas in which more social
innovation is crucial. But social innovation can also contribute to less obvious
areas such as consumer policy, enterprise policy, f‌inance, agriculture and food
systems, the circular economy and sustainable development goals, just to name a few. The European Commission is
therefore keen to promote social innovation across a wide spectrum of policy areas, so that we can all reap the benef‌its.
I am very pleased to present this brochure which includes one example of social innovation from each Member State.
The initiatives presented tackle a range of social challenges, from unemployment and lack of skills, to inadequate care
services and social isolation. Yet, despite their diversity, they all have one thing in common: they impact people’s lives for
the better. Pupils, the elderly, newly arrived migrants, persons with disabilities, excluded young people, the homeless –
people across dif‌ferent generations and from all walks of life are supported in these examples.
Looking at the richness of these initiatives, it is no wonder that the European Union has been promoting and supporting
social innovation for many years. Through the European Structural and Investment Funds and other Union programmes,
we of‌fer a range of possibilities to our partners to invest in social innovation.
The European Commission will continue to support social innovation. Our proposal for the European Social Fund Plus holds
a prominent place for social innovation. It explicitly promotes innovative actions, calling on Member States to support
social experimentation projects, bottom-up approaches and partnerships that have a social core.
I invite you to explore the brochure and delve into these exciting initiatives. They bring social innovation to life, giving it a
human face, from the people involved in setting up the initiative, to the people that are directly supported in their daily
lives through this work.
Nicolas Schmit
European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights
© European Commission, 2020

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