Paris Conference on Social Investment
11 December 2018
PARIS – A High-Level Conference on Social Investment for a Prosperous and Resilient Europe, organised by the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the Caisse des Dépôts Group (CDC), took place on 7 December.
The conference brought together twenty high-level speakers and a hundred and fifty participants from across Europe. It took place at a time when challenges to social cohesion in Europe had never been so great nor the vulnerable populations, in particular migrants and refugees, so numerous.
Faced with increasing inequalities and the risk of deep polarisation of our society, the speakers highlighted the pressure posed by current social issues, in addition to climate change, and the need to identify structural solutions to address them.
Intensifying social investments, promoting innovative forms of financing that blend public and private financial resources, and undertaking proactive social policies inspired by grassroots stakeholders, are some of the avenues for reflection and action, which will contribute to the much needed collective mobilisation at European, national and local level.
In their opening addresses, Éric Lombard, CEO of the CDC, and Rolf Wenzel, Governor of the CEB, indicated how pleased they were with jointly initiating such an ambitious and much-needed debate.
The CEO of the CDC, Éric Lombard, concluded his speech underlining the momentum for social investments as illustrated by the proposals of the European Commission for the next budget of the European Union. Indeed, for the first time, a budgetary guarantee of € 4bn to social investments is foreseen. This represents a 90% increase in credits. Another positive signal is the European Commission’s intention to open direct access to this guarantee to new actors such as Caisse des Dépôts and the CEB, in order to deploy the EU guarantee instrument as locally as possible in all territories.The Governor of the CEB, Rolf Wenzel, said that socially responsible investment played a major part in building healthy, prosperous societies, but the severe challenges facing Europe had led to decreased levels of social investment in recent years. For the CEB, investment aimed at making a positive impact on people and society was in its DNA, and the Bank had done its utmost to meet the increasing demand for social investment projects in Europe, with record figures in loans approved both this and last year.
The discussions were rounded off by an inspiring speech on an economy based on sharing, delivered by the successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Alexandre Mars.
Photos courtesy of Sylvie Dupic ® Sylvie Dupic.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.