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 priorities are based on our four year strategic framework and decisions on how best to implement these priorities are made at our annual Regional Conference.
The network has three strategic priorities: advocacy; humanitarian aid and strengthening the network. The following working structures guide the network’s work on these priorities:
Action group – For each strategic priority, the network has a series of dedicated action groups composed of experts from the member organisations. The action 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, each action group has a supporting structure called reference network. These networks are composed of experts from across the network who are not necessarily sitting in an action group, but who make themselves available to contribute with their knowledge when necessary.
Steering group – Each strategic priority has a steering group. Each steering group is composed of two members of the Caritas Europa Executive Board and the Chairs of the relevant action groups. Together, they study the proposals of the action groups and ensure that there is consistency between the different proposals and with the network’s strategic framework. The steering groups approve the action groups’ proposals. However, if a steering group cannot reach an agreement, the decision is passed over to the Executive Board.
Our working structures
Advocacy steering group
Social inclusion & integration – SDGs in Europe action group
SDGs in the world action group
Migration and asylum action group
Institutional advocacy action group
Social economy task force
Humanitarian steering group
Humanitarian aid action group
Strengthening the network steering group
Organisational development action group
Knowledge management task force
Caritas Development Fund task force
Communion and participation action group
Caritas Europa is very active among the Brussels-based civil society. The network holds a privileged partnership with the: