human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Who we are
Introducing Caritas Europa
Caritas Europa is the network of Caritas organisations on the European continent.
Caritas Europa is a Catholic network working with people of all faiths to end poverty and to promote the dignity of all people. We are part of the global Caritas Internationalis network that has over 160 members around the world.
We believe that people and the environment, not profits, should be at the heart of all policies. We oppose all kinds of exclusions and support all initiatives that promote sustainable development that benefit everyone and enable all people to find a meaningful role to play in society.
Our work is inspired by the 7 principles of Catholic Social Teaching, with a particular attention to the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. This means that we focus primarily on the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies, not least those who are newly arrived in Europe as migrants or refugees.
Caritas Europa has 49 member organisations in 46 countries across the European continent, including in all member states of the European Union and the vast majority of Council of Europe member countries.
What we do
Caritas Europa has a permanent secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. The secretariat ensures that the messages and policy demands of our members are heard by the European institutions, such as the European Union and the Council of Europe. All our calls for change are based on the experiences of Caritas teams working on the ground.
Our strategic orientations are based on our eight-year strategic framework 2021-2028. Decisions on how best to implement the strategic objectives that contribute to these orientations are made at our annual Regional Conference.
The network has four strategic orientations: Caritas identity and practice, integral human development and humanitarian response, inclusive and just policies, and professional competencies and sustainable funding. In addition, four cross-cutting elements underpin the strategic framework: innovation, Laudato Si, Agenda 2030 on sustainable development and youth engagement.
The following permanent working structures guide the network’s work on these orientations:
Working group – The network has a series of dedicated working groups composed of experts from member organisations who ensure the implementation of specific strategic objectives and outcomes. The working groups meet regularly and make proposals based on the realities the member organisations experience on the ground.
Reference network – In order to ensure that the voice of all member organisations is heard when working on a topic, the working groups have a supporting structure called reference network. These networks are composed of experts from across the network who are not necessarily sitting in a working group, but who make themselves available to contribute with their knowledge when necessary.
Committee – Each strategic orientation has a committee. Each committee is composed of at least one member of the Caritas Europa Executive Board, the chairs of the relevant working groups, a member of the pool of theologians, a youth representative and additional experts if required. Together, they study the proposals of the working groups and ensure that there is consistency between the different proposals and with the network’s strategic framework. The committees approve the working groups’ proposals. However, if a committee cannot reach an agreement, the decision is passed over to the Executive Board.
Our working structures
Strategic orientation 1: Caritas identity and practice
Communications and identity committee
Communication working group
The pool of theologians
Strategic orientation 2: Integral human development and humanitarian response
International cooperation and humanitarian committee
International cooperation working group
Humanitarian working group
Safeguarding task force
Strategic orientation 3: Inclusive and just policies
Just policies committee:
Social policy working group
Human mobility working Group
Strategic orientation 4: Professional competencies and sustainable funding
Institutional development committee
Fundraising working group
Youth engagement working group
Organisational Development Solidarity System task force
Knowledge management task force
Caritas Europa is very active among the Brussels-based civil society. The network holds a privileged partnership with the: