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.
Innovative approaches can provide answers to economic and societal challenges such as demographic change, the current migration wave, and the unequal distribution of wealth. The European Centre provides relevant know-how to governments, international institutions, research institutes and civil society organisations of the wider Europe embracing more than 50 UN member states. A special focus has been put on (potential) EU candidate countries and the countries of the Eastern Partnership with advice for establishing or improving social welfare policies, based on expertise drawn from the European Centre's empirical and comparative cross-national research.
Our aim is to 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:
Within these three pillars, the main tasks to be carried out as part of the Bridging Function consist in
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 levels.
In this context, the European Centre organises 1-3 events annually:
During the past few years, the European Centre and the Austrian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection have visited countries in the target regions to assess their demand. Memoranda of Understanding were signed to establish and deepen cooperation in the field of social policies. Furthermore, National Liaison Officials (NLOs) were nominated in most countries of the region to serve as a key link between the European Centre and its member states. The NLOs act as intermediaries representing both the interests of their nations within the European Centre as well as those of the European Centre in their countries.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research