The European Commission has recognised a need to address fundamental challenges around work and employment across the European Union. The European Pillar of Social Rights (2017) highlights that the future of the EU depends on its ability to position itself as a promoter of solutions to social challenges, in a context of growing social and economic deprivation in the post-crisis era. In this context, the importance of social innovation (SI) becomes clear.
Social innovation has been broadly defined by the Commission as the development of ‘new ideas, services and models to better address social issues’, involving both public and private actors (including civil society). In the absence of clear top-down policy solutions, it essential for the EU to support experimentation, through both national and transnational projects, so that imaginative answers may develop to the questions around employment and work which loom large over Europe’s future.
This report aims to find out how the EU is promoting these solutions. Through a detailed policy analysis, expert interviews and a comparative study of five cases from across Europe this report seeks to answer the following questions: What are the characteristics of EU-supported employment social innovations? And how is the EU driving these innovations?