In several European countries, the renewal of
social policy often has its roots in social innovations undertaken at local level. When
these projects involve testing an initiative on a small scale in order to measure its effects,
with a view to its possible generalisation, they are referred to as social experimentation.
This experimental tool for transforming public
policy is attracting greater interest, both within member states and at European level. These
successful experimentations provide results that can be exploited by decision makers in
all the Member States..
This was one of the messages that emerged from
the 7th European Round Table on poverty and social exclusion, and the first meeting of
European ministers responsible for these issues, held on 15 and 16 October. Developing
social experimentation was therefore encouraged, because it contributes to
identifying good practice on the part of member states, helps determine appropriate levers for public
The European Commission also underlined the
usefulness of this tool in the renewed social agenda adopted on 2 July. In a recent opinion,
the European Economic and Social Committee took up a clear position in favour
of its development.
The issue now is to follow up these positions
in operational terms. This is the goal of our Forum. It should enable us to reach concrete
results in order to reinforce the social Europe.
Promoting social experimentation in Europe
means deepening the implications of this intervention method by learning from former
experiences and discussing on the programmes that should be conducted in order to take
benefit from a transnational perspective. This should involve specifying the benefits
provided by this instrument and discussing the
conditions under which it should be developed,
implemented and evaluated, together with all the actors concerned. It should also involve
determining the conditions for generalising the experimentations that yield good results on a
national scale. Finally, it should enable us to better define the possibilities for sharing
and transferring between member states the lessons learned from successful experimentations in
order to reinforce European and national
strategies for poverty reduction.
The Forum on Social Experimentation in Europe
will contribute to better identifying the conditions for success and the possibilities
for working together through transnational programmes on social experimentation, in
particular – to develop this tool effectively.
Such an approach to this concrete and
innovative tool will strengthen our capacity to respond appropriately and decisively to the obstacles
facing people living in poverty. By establishing a permanent working process, this Forum will
contribute to this aim in a decisive way.
High Commissioner for Active
Inclusion Against Poverty