About

The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 15,000 social and health services for persons with disabilities.

A priority for EASPD is to ensure that European policies help to finance the development of quality social care and support services throughout Europe. It is within this priority that EASPD has been active in making sure that the EU Investment Plan supports such investment into the social services sector.

EASPD understands that social service providers are increasingly needing loans to finance some of their investment projects; be it building new infrastructure, training staff or testing innovation. Many however struggle to access such loans at a decent rate.

We believe the EU Investment Plan could be a useful policy to help social service providers access better loans, in particular through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) or other European investment instruments.

To date, there has been very little use of the EU Investment Plan for investment into social services. There are several reasons for that, including issues regarding promotion and communication to the social services sector.

It is for this reason that EASPD has developed this website to help social service providers get access to better loans through EFSI and/or other European financing mechanisms.

This website aims to provide a simple, yet detailed overview of the EU Investment Plan, the different programmes and options available, tips and success stories. It also provides useful information for investors and public authorities willing to invest in the social services sector.

The Website may also include errors. If so, please highlight them to socialinvestment@easpd.eu

Understanding EFSI

The UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) promotes, protects and ensures the human rights of persons with disabilities to be included, receive self-directed support and participate fully in society.

Article 19 of the UN CRPD establishes the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, outside of institutional settings. Community based services, centred around the individual, ensure the empowerment, freedom of choice, participation and inclusion of everyone in society for those who use them.

To achieve the transition from institutional to community-based care EASPD supports the process of deinstitutionalisation and the design, development and creation of community-based services. Deinstitutionalisation promotes the universal access to mainstream services such as housing, healthcare, education, employment, culture and leisure, as well as the provision of more specific services to cater to individual support needs.

The achievement of deinstitutionalisation and the provision of community-based support will move our societies closer to the full implementation of the UN CRPD and the full respect, inclusion and participation of all persons with disabilities in society.

You can find EASPD's roadmap to making community-based services a reality here and the work being done by the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care, of which EASPD is a part of, here.

The EU Investment Plan is an important initiative developed by the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help access to finance (loans) for enterprises, including social service providers. To achieve this, the EU Investment Plan works on three main areas:

  • European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI): unlocking investment of over €300 billion over three years into European SMEs and infrastructure projects
  • Advice and support: providing support to stakeholders through the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) and the EU Investment Project Portal (EIPP)
  • Facilitating Legal Frameworks: supporting investment in the real economy

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) -facilitates access to better quality loans by using EU money as a guarantee for private investors. To date EFSI has helped 100,000s of SMEs and Infrastructure projects get access to decent loans; at a better rate than without any intervention by EFSI.

Through a €21 billion budget, coming from the EU and the EIB, EFSI aims at unlocking €330 billion worth of additional investment into the real economy. The objective is to address a funding gap that is hampering the ability of enterprises to expand and innovate to their full potential due to limited access to private funding for certain high-risk projects.

Click here for a video introduction to EFSI

 

The European Investment Bank is the European Union’s public lending institution. The EIB’s shareholders are the Member States of the European Union. The EIB should not be confused with the European Central Bank.

The EIB is the European Union's bank. The EIB is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. It works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy.

The EIB is the world’s largest multilateral borrower and lender. It provides finance and expertise for sustainable investment projects that contribute to EU policy objectives. More than 90% of the EIB’s activity is in Europe.

The EIB provides 3 main types of products and services:

  • lending – about 90 % of its total financial commitment. The Bank lends to clients of all sizes to support growth and jobs, and this support often helps to attract other investors
  • 'blending' - allowing clients to combine EIB financing with additional investment
  • advising and technical assistance - maximising thus value for money.

The EIB makes loans above EUR 25 million directly. Where smaller loans are involved, it opens credit lines for financial institutions (or assimilated players) that then lend funds to creditors.

Click here for more information about the EIB

If you are a service provider, EFSI would allow you to get a better quality deal for your loan. 

The measurement of interest rates -and more generally the loan agreements- are made on a case-by-case basis. Such measurements are based on a series of factors: income/revenue structures, sustainable business plans, good governance, et cetera.

However, as the overall objective of EFSI is to help you get access to better loans, it is clear that interest rates for EFSI-supported projects would tend to be lower than without such interventions or, alternatively, that the project is financed instead of no progress being made.

If you are a financial intermediary (bank, etc), EFSI would reduce the risk for you to invest in a project developed by a social service provider by providing a guarantee (or other options to facilitate your provision of a loan).

If you are a local or regional authority, EFSI could provide decent loans for your urban and regional development projects; which can include social infrastructure (social services, social housing, healthcare, education, etc).

A key component of EFSI is that it is demand-driven, meaning that project developers have to apply before receiving EFSI support. Another key ingredient is that accessing EFSI depends on the size of your project and financing needs.

EFSI is delivered through two main windows:

- Infrastructure & Innovation Window

o Supports projects requiring over €25 million of investment,

o provides direct loans through the European Investment Bank

o Can help to attract other important investors to finance your project

- Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Window

o Supports projects under €25 million,

o Is implemented through financial intermediaries (selected banks and other private investors) to provide loans to Enterprises, including social service providers.

o Is implemented through a variety of different programmes (COSME, InnovFin, EaSI)

 

It is important to note that EFSI does not include all investment programmes supported by the EIB. See Programmes and Options for Social Service providers, Investors and Public Authorities for more information. 

This website aims at providing a general support, advice and guidance on accessing EFSI or -more broadly- EIB financial support. Please use the website contact page to ask for more information.  

 

The European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) can provide support, advice and guidance for your project development and preparation. The Hub is

- A one-stop-shop for a variety of different advisory and technical assistance programs and initiatives for both public and private beneficiaries, provided by high-level experts

- A cooperation platform to exchange and share the expertise developed among the EIAH partners and stakeholders

 

The EU Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is a database of projects to help project developers find and access investors throughout the world. 

 

Watch our interviews: