New European Care Strategy
On 15th of September European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new European Care Strategy on their agenda for 2022.
This new EU Care Strategy will aim to “support men and women in finding the best care and the best life balance for them”. EASPD welcomes this promising initiative as a crucial recognition of the essential role care and support services play in society and calls for it to include targeted action to help the sector shift to empowering forms of services in line with human rights obligations
On the 15th September, during the annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced their plans to “come forward with a new European Care Strategy to support men and women in finding the best care and the best life balance for them”. The aim is to support carers and those receiving care – from early childhood education to long-term care. This follows long-lasting calls by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and others, including the Social Platform and Social Services Europe, for such an initiative.
Welcoming the news, Mr Luk Zelderloo – Secretary General EASPD – says that “It is fantastic news to hear the Commission recognise the European dimension to care and support and the challenges facing it”. He continued by setting out EASPD’s 3 expectations from the Strategy “the first item on the agenda should be about creating a European vision for care. For EASPD, it is about care that enables people to live the lives they want, where they want and with whom they want. It is about getting the right support that allows people and their family carers to be empowered, protected and supported. This logic applies to all adults and also – to a significant degree – to children. Care is not only about health.”
Continuing, Mr Zelderloo added that “once the vision is set, the Strategy should cover how to put that in place: what skills are needed for carers, how to make formal care work attractive, how to best support family carers, how to facilitate social innovation, how to best fund the care system, what role for new technologies and how to divide responsibilities between public authorities, not-for-profit and social economy providers and those who draw on care services”.
Mr Zelderloo concluded “And last but not least, the Strategy should come with targeted and concrete measures the European Union can take to support reforms and initiatives at national, regional and local level: collecting data and setting targets & indicators, promoting co-production, facilitating job creation and social dialogue, supporting the Social Economy, making the most of EU Funds, and much more.”
The European Institutions have a lot on their agenda with the new EU Care Strategy. EASPD will be very active in the months to come to bring our ideas, evidence and social innovations to the policy-makers in charge of transforming this announcement into concrete action able to make a difference for both those who draw on care or those who provide care across the continent.