11 January 2018
by Catherine MALLET

Report by Petter Ljungholm, City Coordinator, The Salvation Army, Gothenburg

On Thursday 16th November 2017 there was a civil society exchange organised by Social Platform as a side event to the Social Summit, attended by The Salvation Army’s city coordinator Petter Ljungholm.

A panel existing of experts, including Mayor of Gothenburg Ann-Sofie Hermansson and representatives from government, EU institutions and civil society, discussed the role of civil society and the social dimension of the future of Europe.

The panel speakers addressed the question: what is your social vision for Europe?

  • A fair Europe where everybody contributes both in working but also in the social life.
  • We see that people have little confidence in the political system and have low trust in politicians.
  • Leadership is needed. You are important; everybody is important and should have the right to a good life.
  • We need to see a Europe where you can live on minimum wages to get food on the table for your children.
  • A Europe where everybody can use their potential and gives of their potential.
  • An EU where it is easy to use all the good things that the EU was meant for.

It was highlighted that all countries within the EU should have minimum wages but it is complex matter. All European countries have their history and it is not easy to transport one system to another country. The trade unions are organized differently according to country so to address all the challenges to better harmonize systems we need to look ahead about 100 years. To start with we need to understand and learn from each other.

AnnSofie Hermansson, Mayor of Gothenburg explained that from earlier experience we knew that people need training in the Swedish language and to get involved as soon as possible. We also needed to work with job training, giving people a secure social network and to give people opportunities in life, which does not always have to be a job.

A question was raised about jobs that require little education that may disappear, and what will happen to people with disabilities that before could have jobs.  Pannelists responded that if you have been away from work a long time due to illness, you often have to depend on others. We can see that there can be a need of creating jobs in the healthcare industry, but they are not ‘easy or simple’ jobs. We need to create a full spectrum of jobs. Many jobs will change due to technology, which in some ways can be good for people with physical disabilities.

Participants were invited afterwards to view an exhibition where different social projects were presented including:

-    The Salvation Army Community Centres Iasi & Ploiesti

-    RoUm Start-Up, Croatia

-    Healthy Communities Project, Slovakia

Tags: Europe