Opening Doors contributes to the report on the use of EU funds for deinstitutionalisation



The Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign was delighted to contribute to the launch of the ‘Opening up Communities, Closing Down Institutions: Harnessing the European Structural and Investment Funds’ report which brings together evidence and recommendations from several EU Member States on how the European Structural and Investment Funds are being, or plan to be used, to support deinstitutionalisation. 

As part of the ongoing collaboration with Community Living for Europe, an independent initiative monitoring the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in the transition from institutional to community-based care, six of the Opening Doors national coordinators including Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Romania and Poland contributed to the survey assessing how the ex-ante conditionality on social inclusion has been implemented in their states. The research contains examples that demonstrate how Member States have used ESIF to support deinstitutionalisation, their future plans and challenges in the process. The report also contains concrete recommendations for the current and next funding periods.

The report launch event took place on 22 November 2017 in the European Parliament in Brussels and was co-chaired by Professor Gerard Quinn of NUI Galway, Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos and  co-hosted by Mairead McGuinness, MEP (EPP) and Vice President of the European Parliament and Iskra Mihaylova, MEP (ALDE) and Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development. The launch event included interventions from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, European Commission officials, Members of the European Parliament, self-advocates and civil society organisations.

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, Opening Doors Campaign coordinator speaking on the panel of civil society representatives said: “This report contains important lessons for the next era of EU funding. The ‘ex-ante conditionalities’ in the regulatory framework for European Structural and Investment Funds create funding preconditions for Member States and are strong leverage for structural reforms at national level.”

She added that according to the Opening Doors campaign findings, used in the report, the European Code of Conduct on Partnership (ECCP), which implies close cooperation between the European Commission and public authorities, social partners and organisations representing civil society, has not been honoured. “If civil society doesn’t have the capacity to monitor the process, then governments can’t be held to account,” she concluded. In the next Multiannual Funding Framework (MFF), active and meaningful participation and involvement of civil society organisations and service users during programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes must be ensured.