On March 15, 2022, the Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) and the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) committees of the European Parliament undertook the preparation of an own-initiative report (INI) entitled “Towards a European action common on care”. Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP (EPP, Finland) and Milan Brglez MEP (S&D, Slovenia) are the co-rapporteurs of the draft report.
There have been many contributions from the socialist group to the report, covering various cross-cutting issues related to gender equality, accessibility and affordability of health and socio-health services, the aging of the population, the increase in chronic diseases, or the quality employment in the care sector, both, formal and informal.
We have asked the Commission to approach the European strategy by taking into account the working and employment conditions of all informal domestic workers. It is crucial that the rights of these workers are recognized and that measures against all forms of elderly abuse are included in order to combat unacceptable phenomena such as the lack of assistance, mistreatment or neglect. Member States must put in place training plans for formal and informal caregivers in order to prevent such abuses as well as establish independent and effective mechanisms to report and correct them. We have also highlighted the importance of an integrated approach to common European action on care that pays equal attention to people’s physical, psychological and social needs.
The draft report is the proposal of the European Parliament regarding the upcoming European Care Strategy scheduled for the third quarter of 2022. According to the European Commission Work Program for 2022, the strategy will address both caregivers and providers, from childcare to long-term care. It will establish a framework for policy reforms to guide the development of sustainable long-term care that ensures better and more affordable access to quality services for all.
Synergies with other EU initiatives on digitization could help improve health, facilitate the use of medical devices for the elderly, collet data, and ensure better health outcomes. However, above all, we want the strategy to include a set of policies, programs and recommendations, combined with a specific care investment package, in order to foster a new care economy that recognizes care as a right and values it as the backbone of our society.