Youth Care and EU policy

Youth care, juvenile justice and social policies are – at first sight  - not Europe’s competences.  Due to the subsidiarity principle EU member states and in many cases their regions are in charge of health, family policies, social care and welfare policies.  But as the impact of the EU is growing and broadening, this is also the case for the policies in the social domains.  Since the Lisbon treaty, the EU 2020-strategy and even more since the actual financial and economic crisis this influence is only increasing.  The EU member states are fast moving towards integrated and at EU-level defined policies.  Since the ‘European semester’ (procedure followed by the European Commission to monitor and guide the member states budgets before they are finalized by the national parliaments) Europe has even the competence to evanluate the member states budgets for social policies. Social and economic/monetary policies are no longer opposite policy domains, as stated very firmly by the European Commission in its’ ‘Social Investment Package’ (launched on 20th of February 2013.).  NGOs become ‘social businesses’ acting under Europe’s services and state aid directives.  The social is an integrated part of the EU 2020-strategy.

Europe’s Youth Care sector can’t deny this reality any longer.  Even more, it should see not only the threads but as well the opportunities that are created by these EU policies.  Therefor a solid and targeted structure is needed.  It is now the time to make further steps by creating a formal/informal ‘platform’ of actors in the youth care sector.  This platform will figure as a meeting place of sectorial actors from where long term strategies and strategic alliances can be build up.  In a further stage a sectorial voice should sound.    
We assume that the sector is not big, (rich) and powerful enough to create a powerful structure on its’ own.  Therefor ‘smart networking’ can be a good strategy.