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Eurocarers Newsletter

Dear readers,

I am pleased to present you with the July edition of our newsletter, the last one before a well-deserved summer break! The first Semester 2016 revealed a particularly busy and important period for our network with continued progress and new achievements.

Our vision is unchanged, which is to contribute to a Europe where carers have the opportunity and the support they need to live fulfilling and healthy lives while their contribution to care systems, social cohesion, the economy and society as a whole is truly valued. Ensuring that carers have the right to choose freely whether they want to be a carer, and to what extent they want to be involved in caring has been the driving force behind our work since we were established in 2006 and will remain so. To this end, we strive to bring together all relevant stakeholders and influencers, from the national, regional and local level that can contribute to achieving our goals. Joining forces, learning from each other, sharing knowledge and innovating is particularly important in times of economic stress and political uncertainty.

In this edition, you will find information about two major policy developments which will likely have a long-lasting influence on our work:

  • The EC proposal for a Pillar of Social Rights aims to build on, and complement, our EU social "acquis" in order to guide policies in a number of fields essential for well-functioning and fair labour markets and welfare systems (including long-term care). Once established, the Pillar should become the reference framework to screen the employment and social performance of participating Member States and to drive reforms at national level. Incidentally, it would provide our network with an additional key tool to advocate for carer-friendly EU systems;
  • The WHO Framework on Integrated, People-Centred Health Services, approved by the World Health Assembly at the end of June calls for a fundamental shift in the way health services are funded, managed and delivered. The People-centred care approach to care consciously adopts individuals’, carers’, families’ and communities’ perspectives as participants in, and beneficiaries of, trusted health systems that respond to their needs and preferences in humane and holistic ways. As such, it provides our network with a perfect backdrop for our messaging.

Obviously, avoiding ‘the elephant in the room’ – i.e. the UK referendum held on 23 June on the question of whether to remain in, or leave, the European Union - would be difficult. This newsletter therefore includes a briefing document highlighting the expected next steps of the Brexit process.

On behalf of the Eurocarers Secretariat, I wish you a wonderful (and hopefully sunny) summer.

Stecy Yghemonos  

Executive Director



EU Policy Developments

Slovak Presidency - Programme of the next Presidency of the Council 


The Programme of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union is based on four priorities: an economically strong Europe, a modern single market, a sustainable migration and asylum policies and a globally engaged Europe. The Slovak Presidency is putting forward a positive agenda and seeks to promote sustainable solutions. 

On the 30th June 2016, the Slovak Government approved the Programme of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

EC - Commission follow up to the EP Resolutions on the European Semester 2016 

Please follow the link to access the Follow up to the European Parliament resolution on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2016. The resolution welcomes the 2016 Annual Growth Survey package and indicates areas where the European Parliament sees further room for improvement in order to support recovery, foster convergence towards the best performers and correct macroeconomic imbalances. 

EP Think Tank - UK withdrawal from the EU: Next steps 


The referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June on the question of whether to remain in, or leave, the European Union resulted in 51.9% of those voting (on a 71.8% turn-out) supporting withdrawal from the Union.

Although, formally speaking, the referendum was consultative, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his government had indicated clearly in advance that the outcome would be considered binding. 

WHO - Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly closes 

The Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly closed today after approving new resolutions on WHO’s Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors; the Sustainable Development Goals; the International Health Regulations; tobacco control; road traffic deaths and injuries; nutrition; HIV, hepatitis and STIs; mycetoma; research and development; access to medicines and integrated health services.

Council Register - SPC and EMCO Conclusions 


Please follow the link to access the Social Protection Committee’s conclusions on the multilateral reviews of the implementation of the 2015 CSRs and review of the 2016 Country Reports, as an addendum to the SPC assessment of the 2016 CSRs package and the implementation of the 2015 Council CSRs in the area of social protection and social inclusion (pensions, health, long-term care, and social protection). 

State of Health in the EU: Commission pools expertise to support health policies in EU countries

Today at the EPSCO Health Council in Luxembourg, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, announced the State of Health in the EU initiative for 2016-17. With this initiative, the Commission will bring together internationally recognised expertise to provide Member States with evidence on health that is relevant to their specific country context and that can help maximise the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of their health systems.

NL Presidency publication on "Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion"


The EPSCO Council adopted the Council Conclusions on an integrated approach to combating poverty and social exclusion. The addendum to the Council Conclusions contains valuable best practices from all over Europe. An integrated approach means looking at the individual (or household) situation from a broad perspective – ranging from a lack of income to social exclusion.

Special issue on priorities for health systems strengthening in the WHO European Region 


The issue explores how Member States are strengthening their health systems in line with the recently launched strategic document "Priorities for health systems strengthening in the WHO European Region 2015–2020: walking the talk on people centeredness". 

Articles include:

Key policy challenges for the EU in 2017


Please follow the link to access the EPRS briefing "Key policy challenges for the EU in 2017". As the European Commission prepares its work programme for 2017, this publication aims to identify key policy challenges facing the Union. It is a natural next step, following on from the recent EPRS paper on the state of play of the Commission's ten policy priorities, published in May 2016.


Work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives in Europe. A study of national policies

This new report by Denis Bouget, Slavina Spasova and Bart Vanhercke (OSE) is concerned with some of the key questions that arise regarding (a) the work-life balance of working-age people – mainly women – who care for disabled and chronically ill dependent relatives, (b) reconciling work and care obligations and (c) maintaining the well-being of the carers and their families. The analysis focuses on carers of working age, whether or not they are actually working. 


Research in Action

Consultation on Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 for Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing challenge 


In preparation of the next H2020 Work Programme Societal Challenge 1 (SC1 - Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing), the European commission (DG CONNECT) is consulting with the SC1 Programme Committee, the SC1 National Contact Points and stakeholders. The National Contact Points together with the stakeholders in their countries will provide important inputs to this process covering the areas of the Work Programme including eHealth, mHealth and ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing.


Four Nordic eHealth pilots achieve lasting results


By using fiber for broadband connections, eHealth services such as telehealth consultations are being delivered successfully with lasting results. This was shown by the Connected for Health project and its pilots in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

"The Connected for Health project reached several remarkable results from its piloting and research activities", states Mrs. Marjatta Eväsoja, director of International Affairs and Culture in the Regional Council of Southern Ostrobothnia (Finland), which has been coordinating the project as Lead Partner.

eHealth projects - Research and Innovation in the field of ICT for Health and Wellbeing: an overview 

What have the best brains of Europe come up with to improve healthcare with the help of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)? The pdf-document below offers an overview of the most current (on-going or recently finished) European funded projects in the field of ICT for health and wellbeing ('eHealth').


New online repository by the EIP on AHA


The Repository developed by the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA) will help to mobilise and gather resources and knowledge on Active and Healthy Ageing to deploy scalable, innovation-driven and digitally-enabled solutions.

It is the basis for the European AHA scaling up strategy and constitutes another step in the development of the EIP on AHA to ensure the implementation of innovative solutions for active and healthy ageing on a European scale

New online platform of good practices on active ageing

The Institute of Mental Health of Semmelweis University and the University Of Debrecen Faculty Of Health recently launched a website called Active Ageing Network.

One of the aims of the website is to map researches and projects on active ageing of topics on different areas of active ageing including long-term care, family carers, informal carers ageing and ICT, elder-friendly environment, migrant care workers, intergenerational relations, volunteers, social policy and ageing, mapping of good examples and elaborating model programs in Central and Eastern Europe available only in national languages


ICT4Life: an EU funded project with the ambition to provide new services for integrated care employing user-friendly ICT tools


Almost 10 million Europeans live with Parkinson, Alzheimer and other dementias today. As a result of ageing, the number of persons affected by one of those conditions is forecasted to double by 2030, making them major health challenges. Those persons want to live in their own homes but because of the symptoms they face difficulties in their daily life both in managing their own care and living independently. 


Events and Calls for proposals

Workshop: 'Cross-cutting Key Enabling Technologies for Health' 

The combination of various technologies in groups, commonly known as "Key Enabling Technologies (KETs)", is deemed to be of highest benefit to innovation fields in health. What is the European Commission doing today to accelerate the development and make use of these advanced technologies and integrated systems, enabling new solutions for health? What shall it do in the future? What role can Horizon 2020 play? What are the opportunities for researchers and other actors in the field?


DG CNECT - What happened at eHealth Week - Videos and presentations available 



This three-day conference (8-10 June 2016, Amsterdam) brought together 2,230 policy makers, healthcare providers, patients, researchers and industry from across Europe and beyond. You can watch the recordings of the plenary sessions online, the highlights video and save the date for eHealth Week 2017 in Malta: 10-12 May 2017.


DG CNECT - European Health Forum Gastein 

Over the past decade the European Health Forum Gastein has developed into an indispensable institution in the scope of European health policy. It has made a decisive contribution to the development of guidelines and above all the cross-border exchange of experience, information and cooperation. The overall aim is a platform for discussion for the various stakeholders in the field of public health and health care. 


Save the date - 2nd European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing 


This Summit will look at how digital technology will transform the way we think about delivering health and care in Europe. Areas covered will range from health (medical treatment) to prevention and healthy lifestyles and other areas of the Silver Economy (Silver Tourism, Age Friendly Homes and Living Environments etc.). Participants will help to define a shared vision on how innovation can transform demographic change into an opportunity for Europe's ageing society and the Silver Economy.

Ageing & Society - Sixth International Conference 

We are pleased to share the announcement and Call for Papers for the Ageing & Society: Sixth International Conference hosted in partnership between the National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL) and Common Ground Publishing (USA) at Linköping University in Norrköping, Sweden, 6-7 October 2016.


Are you qualified to provide advice on effective ways on investing in health? Apply to be a member of an independent expert panel!


The European Commission seeks experts, covering a wide range of disciplines, to join an independent expert panel, on effective ways of investing in health, established in 2012. This panel supports the Commission by preparing opinions on new forms of healthcare models and the challenges health systems are confronted in Europe, with a view to ensure that health systems are effective, accessible and resilient. 


News from the network

Eurocarers Annual General Meeting and 10th Anniversary celebration, Brussels, 13-15 June 2016

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Eurocarers network took place in Brussels, from the 13th to the 15th June 2016. It was a special occasion, as this year marks the 10th anniversary of our network. Therefore, a very comprehensive programme was developed for our members and invited external stakeholders (overall, the event brought together 66 participants from 21 countries).


Briefing: "The consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights, a unique political momentum"


Last 9 September, President Juncker announced the establishment of a ‘European Pillar of Social Rights’. The European Commission (EC) wants to boost convergence towards more resilient economic structures within the euro area. Participating in this consultation will provide Eurocarers with a unique opportunities to raise the issues and challenges attached to caring.


Interest Group on carers addresses work/life balance 

A meeting of the European Parliament Interest Group on Carers – the second this year – took place on 15 June, addressing the new Commission initiative to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families. The meeting aimed to inform participants of this new work/life balance initiative and its state of play and discuss how this initiative could best address carers and their work/life balance needs, in order to ensure that it will reflect and address their issues in the most appropriate and helpful way.


EASPD and its key partners call on the EU to act on social care


On the 28 June, Stecy Yghemonos took part in a policy seminar organised by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) in the European Parliament on job creation in social services. Members of the European Parliament (MEP), representatives from social services, trade unions and organisations representing persons with disabilities called on the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament (EP) to do more to support high quality social care – through adequately trained professionals - in Europe.

Addressing the Gender Pay Gap: taking into account the situation of women caring for a relative

Eurocarers participated in a panel at a seminar organised in Paris on 24 May 2016, which focused on the relations between caring responsibilities endorsed by working women and the Gender Pay Gap.  This gave Eurocarers the opportunity to insist on the need for carers’ organisations to be involved in policy debates aimed at addressing their situation, as well as to participate in the design and implementation of relevant research.


Caring for metastatic cancer patients: family and nursing perspectives 


On 1 June 2016, Pfizer hosted a policy breakfast meeting on ‘Caring for metastatic cancer patients: family and nursing perspectives’, the second in the series of ‘Better Policy breakfasts’ focusing on patients with metastatic cancer. The meeting gathered a variety of participants including patient and health advocates, healthcare professionals, Members of the European Parliament, industry representatives and public affairs consultants (see participant list in Annex 1). 

EOHSP - Slovenia. Highlights on health and well-being (2016) 

Data from 2000–2010 show substantial and sustained health gain in Slovenia, which compares well with its neighbours, the 15 countries that joined the European Union before 1 May 2004 (EU15) and the wider WHO European Region. While decreases in early deaths from causes including heart disease and cancer have contributed to improvements in life expectancy, remaining areas of concern include deaths from falls and the comparatively lower proportion of healthy years of life for older people. 


Italy - Educate to care: Discussing the meaning and impact of caretaking in schools


A lot of studies about young carers say that the school is a privileged place to work with this target, working on two complementary fronts: teachers and students. Trained teachers can identify at an early stage the young carers. They can also contribute to reconcile care and school attendance. On the other hand, if attention is raised among students, they can identify themselves as carers – if that’s the case – or they can provide a valid support to their classmates who are carers, providing support, understanding and helping them to overcome the consequences of illness and disability. 

News from Cuidadores Portugal

This first semester for Cuidadores Portugal has been very rewarding. In this moment it´s involved in several activities nationally and internationally, looking for the promotion of caregivers´ quality of life, based mainly  in innovation, research, academia but also, trying to get involve culture, creative industries and sportive stakeholders to raise public awareness to caregiver´s reality and their importance to our society.



UK - Impact of Brexit for Carers and Network Partners


Whatever way you cast your vote, Britain has taken a decision with significant consequences. Most commentators agree that nobody knows for sure how this is all going to play out. Brexit continues to be a rapidly changing situation.
 For Carers Trust, the immediate concerns are about the likely impact of a Brexit on carers.  We know life is already hard for the UK’s carers. What are the prospects following an exit from the EU? 

Ireland - Make Carers Count in Budget 2017


Family Carers Ireland presented their Pre-Budget 2017 Submission, titled ‘Achieving Fairness for Family Carers’ to Government this morning at 10.30 am in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin 2. Family Carers Ireland received a written commitment from each political party during Election 2016, that if elected, they would publish a refreshed National Carers’ Strategy, backed by dedicated funding to support its implementation.

Eurocarers Secretariat will be closed for summer holidays from the 1st to the 5th of August

The Eurocarers Secretariat will be closed for summer holidays from the 1st to the 5th of August.

The rest of the summer there will always be at least one staff member available. 

We wish our members a relaxing summer break!




Voice from Carers - Finland 

My name is Susanna and my story started 19 years ago in the sunny August-morning when my first child Aaro was born. We were expecting a healthy baby and then everything changed and our world collapsed. Aaro was diagnosed seriously mentally and physically disabled and he requires help in everything. He also has many other health problems like osteoporosis, high blood pressure and epilepsy, some to mention. 


Interview to Alba Viola, a former young carer from Italy, author of the Blog “Mia Madre é Bipolare” (My Mother is Bipolar)


Interview to Alba Viola, a former young carer from Italy, author of the Blog “Mia Madre é Bipolare” (My Mother is Bipolar)

What is your story?

Since I was a child, I have had to face the gradual worsening of my mother’s mental health and all the difficulties arising from this situation: first, the difficulty to understand what was going on and then what to do in order to get help for my mother and for our family. 


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