Brussels, 7 September 2022
Today, the European Commission launched its new care strategy for Europe – proposing action at an EU and Member States level to support long-term care and early childhood education.
The network of Caritas organisations across Europe provides support to millions of people living in the most vulnerable conditions.
Caritas Europa presented proposals for the European Commission strategy in its position paper and respond today to the announcement of the EU Care Strategy. See quotes below:
“Caritas Europa welcomes the new strategy. It recognises that care providers have a clear social function and that long-term care services are a public good. Care Services require a clear regulatory framework and high quality standards that put the person at the centre. The strategy should be helpful as a guide to Member States for revamping their care systems to uphold the fundamental rights of persons in need of care, ensure fair working conditions and wages for care staff, and increase the esteem of care services throughout Europe”, says Maria Nyman, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.
“Of course, for this to be achieved not only will stable and sustainable financing mechanisms be needed, and we welcome the focus in the strategy on creating the right environment for the social economy. Social economy can optimise its contribution to care services by reinvesting profits into the mission of care and into the local communities. The new legal framework could boost its potential to contribute to high-quality standards in care and to provide fair working conditions”, says Maria Nyman, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.
“The reference to legal migration as a key driver to remedy labour shortages in the EU Care Strategy reinforces Caritas Europa’s messages over the years of the important contributions migrants make to European societies. The initiative ‘Attracting Skills and Talent in the EU’ underlines that sustainable and legal pathways for migration from non-EU countries to work in the care sector could provide an opportunity both for migrant care workers to start a career in the EU and for EU countries to help meet their demand for jobs and respond to demographic changes”, says Shannon Pfohman, Caritas Europa’s Policy and Advocacy Director.
Source – Caritas Europa – Email
The European Care Strategy: A missed opportunity for 9,5 million workers
Brussels, 7 September 2022
On the occasion of the release of the European Care Strategy, the European Federation for Services to Individuals (EFSI) wishes to recall the fundamental role of 9,5 million personal and household services (PHS) workers in the provision of care services to thousands of million Europeans.
Even though the European Parliament recognised the paramount function of PHS last July, the PHS sector is not mentioned once in the strategy. “Whereas a vast majority of Europeans express their desire to age at home and the fundamental role of the sector in ensuring care continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, PHS are missing in the Strategy” deplores Aurélie Decker, EFSI’s Director.
PHS, as defined by the European Commission in 2012, comprise a broad range of activities that contribute to the well-being of individuals, their families and work-life balance. Also referred to as domestic work on the international scene, PHS take place in the private homes of individuals and include both direct and indirect care provided by a professional. Therefore, it is important to recall that home care and domestic support services are one and the same thing and should be considered as such in the European Care Strategy.
As emphasised by the ILO, PHS workers are an integral part of the care sector as “care provision includes not only personal care but also non-relational, indirect care work”. While the European Parliament called on the European Commission “to address in the European care strategy the challenging working and employment conditions […], and to lay foundation for recognition, regulation and professionali[s]ation of personal and household services” , it has been completely put aside in the Strategy.
Contingently, Aurélie Decker, EFSI’s director calls for “the political courage of MEPs and the Council to make sure that the entirety of the care sector is accounted for in the strategy, and therefore includes PHS explicitly, as they were omitted by the European Commission in the present strategy proposal. PHS workers and users should get the attention they deserve”. Indeed, the European Care Strategy should account for the care givers, hence, being part of the care workforce, PHS workers should be equally entitled to proper consideration and valorisation. “Rendering visible what has been purposely left invisible should be a priority of the strategy, especially considering the importance of PHS workers in the care sector”, she added.
Furthermore, mentioning home care as an alternative option for institutionalised care is a step forwards, however, to ensure that people have all the cards in hand to actually decide which type of care they want to receive, EFSI considers that all models need to be homogeneously promoted and emphasised.
The EFSI refers to its recommendations in its latest position paper regarding its expectations for PHS within the care sector. Therefore, to ensure proper recognition at the European level of the sector, EFSI is committed to a reinforced dialogue with its social dialogue counterparts. In addition, Aurélie Decker calls for a dialogue with the European Commission so as to highlight the fundamental aspects missing in the present strategy.
See European Parliament, (2022), European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2022 towards a common European action on care (2021/2253(INI)), P9_TA(2022)0278, para. 100, accessed on September 7, 2022 at : https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2022-0278_EN.pdf.
 See European Commission, (2012) Staff working document on exploiting the potential of the personal and household services, accompanying the document communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions : Towards a job rich recovery, p. 4.
 International Labour Office (2018), Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work. International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva, p. 168.
 European Parliament, (2022), European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2022 towards a common European action on care (2021/2253(INI)), P9_TA(2022)0278, para. 100, accessed on September 7, 2022 at : https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2022-0278_EN.pdf.
Source – EFSI – Email
A strong social Europe is a Europe that cares – the S&Ds call for a European Care Deal
Brussels, 7 September 2022
The Socialists and Democrats welcome the announced European Care Strategy, which will be adopted later today by the European Commission. With its two recommendations, it is a first step towards strengthening long-term care and early childhood education and care, as envisaged under the European pillar of social rights.
The S&D Group calls for an ambitious European Care Deal, equipped with binding instruments and proper public investment to guarantee universal, equal and effective access to quality care services for all people in need, from early childhood to older-age care and persons with disabilities. It should also promote decent working conditions and adequate wages for all carers, who are still predominantly women, in order to secure quality jobs that increase the attractiveness of working in the care sector.
Heléne Fritzon MEP, the S&D vice-president responsible for gender equality, said:
“The Covid pandemic was a sad reminder: women provide the vast majority of caregiving tasks, often as informal workers. At the European Union level, working women spend around 22 hours per week in unpaid work; for men this is only nine hours. Even in my country, Sweden, women do at least 20% more unpaid work than men!
“If we want to reach a fair and gender-equal society, unpaid and informal care and housework must be better shared between women and men. To succeed, we have to ensure access to affordable, high-quality childcare so that all parents are able to work. We must also start with education, showing our kids that caring for others is not just a woman’s thing. We will continue working with the Commission to ensure a gender-responsive approach to care, to recognise care as a right and value it as the backbone of our society.”
Pedro Marques MEP, S&D vice-president responsible for social Europe, said:
“Nurses tending to our sick, parents raising our children, careers taking care of our elderly – their work is too often undervalued, underpaid and unequally distributed. We need to improve the situation of all – paid and unpaid care givers, who are predominantly women, and care recipients.
“We need to revise the Barcelona targets on childcare, which were set 20 years ago to improve affordable care services for children, especially under three years of age. We also need strong guidance for member states to reform their long-term care with quality services throughout people’s lives. Both recommendations to be presented today should guarantee decent working conditions for all carers, both formal and informal.
“However, we must do more and faster. For this we need strong public investments in quality public care and binding instruments and laws, not just recommendations. The care sector has a huge potential for employment. With the demographic shift, the need for qualified paid care work will increase. Robots and other technologies will not be able to replace humans. Therefore we need a framework directive on long-term, formal and informal care that would promote accessible and integrated quality care and support services across the EU.”
Source – SD Group Press – Email