Municipalities for Europe Platform

Until today, the Europe Direct Information Centre Europe Direct Puglia, where I work in, has always been awarded as member of the Official EU Information Network (2005-2008; 2009-2012; 2013-2017; 2018-2020) and has been active since 2005, hosted by University of Bari – Department of Political Sciences.
The services interact with the public at national, regional and local levels, responding to requests for information or assistance. They play an important role in communicating with citizens and businesses, but also in listening to their feedback and learning from their needs.
Ten years ago, in 2008, the Council of Europe adopted the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level, including also the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance. The Strategy and the Principles were agreed earlier at the 2007 Ministerial Conference in Valencia, Spain.
In Europe, the demand for social services is growing due to demographic and societal changes, the impact of economic crisis, and increasing rates of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. At the same time, public budgets are shrinking and expenditure for social services has been cut in many member states, to implement austerity measures.
In modernising social services to better respond to changing needs, societal challenges (for example population ageing) and financing constraints, national authorities are increasingly diversifying the ways in which these services are organised, provided and financed (eg increased decentralisation, outsourcing of certain tasks to private – profit or non-profit – providers). Consequently, a growing proportion of these services now come under the scope of Community rules on competition and the internal market.