Bridging function

The European Centre is concerned with all aspects of social welfare policy. Its purpose, as laid down in a series of formal Agreements under international law between the United Nations and the Federal Government of Austria as the Host Country, is to foster the collaboration between governments and organisations in the field of social welfare. Accordingly, the main tasks comprise the exchange of professional experiences, research, and the maintenance of relations between UN-European countries and institutions active in the field of social welfare.

Bridging to Eastern Europe in the Field of Social Welfare

Innovative approaches can provide answers to economic and societal challenges such as demographic change, the current migration wave, and the unequal distribution of wealth. In order to improve European cohesion, the European Centre provides governments, international institutions, research institutes and civil society organisations of the Europe of 56 and in particular of EU (potential) candidate countries and the countries of the Eastern partnership with relevant know-how and advice for establishing or improving structures in the social welfare field, based on expertise drawn from the European Centre's empirical and comparative cross-national research.

We bridge the knowledge and policy evidence between these countries and other countries of the UN European region (e.g. EU Member States). Specifically, the bridging function is based on three main pillars:

  • Comparative social policy and welfare research
  • Knowledge transfer and public forum function
  • Policy consultancy

More specifically, within these three pillars, the foreseeable main tasks to be carried out as part of the bridging function would be to contribute to the identification of the main social issues in Europe through research projects involving partner institutions from different countries; know-how transfer and capacity building involving different public (e.g. state institutes) and private (e.g. universities) stakeholders at different levels (central, regional and municipal or local level), through workshops, seminars and policy consultation.

The bridging function is based on the premise of close collaboration and participation with the national governments of European countries, the European Union and other relevant stakeholders at the international, European and national level.

In this context, the European Centre organises a Launch event "Building Bridges in Social Welfare Policy in Eastern Europe" that will take place on 19 September 2016 in Vienna. It aims at gathering and exchanging expertise from researchers, policy makers and practitioners on Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. We recently published a call for papers for this event and invite scholars and experts with expertise in innovative approaches in labour market policy and health and social care (long-term care) arrangements in the above-mentioned countries to submit an abstract for either an academic paper or a good practice.

In the last few months, the European Centre and the Austrian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection also have visited some target countries to assess their demand regarding establishing and deepening cooperation in the social field. We currently establish a network between the nominated National Liaison Officials (NLOs) and the research community with the aim to together contribute to European Cohesion in the area of social welfare.