07/09/2022 Eurocarers’ Press Release regarding the EU Care Strategy
Eurocarers warmly welcomes the EC call to identify and better support informal carers in its newly-adopted EU Care Strategy, and urges for a swift and full implementation across the EU
The Eurocarers network is very pleased about the launch of the long-awaited EU Care Strategy, published by the EC on the 7th September 2022. Our organisation especially commends the Commission’s recognition that finding an adequate balance between professional and informal/unpaid care is essential to meet the growing care demand facing member states. “Professional and informal care are ultimately two sides of the same coin” said Stecy Yghemonos, Eurocarers Director. “Redistributing caregiving responsibilities between individuals and the collective primarily means that our care systems must be modernised and that care professions must be revitalised. But given their vital role in the provision of care, informal carers must also be provided with good-quality support in order to alleviate the negative impact of their caregiving. Informal care should complement professional care, not replace it.”
Research shows that the bulk of all care in Europe is provided by family members, friends and neighbours outside of a professional context. This (over)reliance on informal carers creates unequal systems as many people cannot rely on the support of their social network. Moreover, when not adequately supported (as is often the case), informal carers may struggle to access education and employment, face poverty, social exclusion as well as negative physical and mental health outcomes. It is therefore crucial to boost the development of alternative solutions to informal care by investing in good-quality professional care services and, in particular, in community and home-based care. However, this will not suffice since financial projections and population statistics all demonstrate that informal care is an indispensable part of the sustainability of our care systems.
The Eurocarers network calls for the creation of a legal status in order to protect informal carers, define their rights (e.g. access to social protection, financial support, pension, respite care, information and training) as well as their obligations (regarding care quality criteria, for example). This legal recognition would not only serve to acknowledge their contribution to society, it would also help guarantee that their needs are effectively addressed and that the provision of informal care stems from choice, not necessity.
While it is unlikely – and undesirable – that EU states and regions will put the exact same support measures in place as their respond to the EC call for action, the EU Care Strategy provides a very valuable blueprint to ensure that all relevant actors work towards the same goals on both formal and informal long-term care.
Eurocarers has been advocating an EU coordinated and holistic approach on care and caring for almost two decades now so, the adoption of an EU Strategy on the topic is a major step forward for our movement and the achievement of our mission. Our network looks forward to supporting EU, national and regional authorities as they operationalise the Strategy.
For more information and access to background documents:
The EU strategy on care: A new paradigm for Carers across Europe? – Consultation
Enabling Carers to care – Eurocarers call for an EU Strategy on carers