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On 10 October, Claire Champeix represented Eurocarers at the seminar “Work, Welfare and Inequalities in Europe”, organized by DG Research and Innovation.

This one day seminar presented research evidence in relation to the present and future of European welfare and work, reversing inequalities, social investment and poverty etc. The seminar brought together leading researchers in the fields of social and employment policies, together with EU policy makers, international experts and other relevant stakeholders.

Outcomes from a range a research projects were discussed from a policy perspective.  A Policy Review entitled "Fighting poverty and exclusion through social investment: A European research perspective" was also presented. This Review presents evidence from twenty 7th Framework Programme research projects on issues pertaining to poverty and exclusion; social investment and protection; new risks and vulnerabilities of different social groups; tax and benefit policies for promoting inclusion and overall policy learning concerning what works, where and why.

Future research needs in relation to social rights and employment trends and developments were examined throughout the seminar.  The discussion also fed in the ongoing consultation process on a European Social Pillar open by the European Commission.

In a plenary discussion, Claire raised that the obvious impact of being an informal carers on poverty, social inclusion and inclusion in the labour market was markedly absent from the research outcomes presented. This point was generally acknowledged by participants as well as from some panelists. In particular, Professor Maurizio Ferrara, from the University of Milan, insisted on the need to address the “dramatic issue of frailty” and of the “excessive associated burden on households”, to “recognize unpaid care word, and facilitate access to rights to informal carers”.  He recommended to promote initiatives from the social economy to address these issues, insisting that “myriads of new actions were taking place on the grass root level”, that was mostly outside of the scope of research. He regretted the lack of data on the matter.

It is hoped that these works will be taken on board by the European Commission when designing future research policies and programmes…..

All the presentations made during this seminar are available here