We participated in the conference â€śReconciling work and care responsibilities: a challenge for family carers in Europeâ€ť, organised by our member COFACE, which was hosted in the Parliament by MEP Marian Harking, Chair of the Interest Group on carers.
MEP Harkin highlighted that â€śIn todayâ€™s challenging environment, it is increasingly important to provide the necessary support for family carers, who often make immense sacrifices, giving up their health and wealth to undertake care responsibilities towards their elderly or disabled relatives.â€ť (source: COFACE press release).
We presented the recommendations on care that Social Platform developed with its members from 2010 to 2011. We stressed that the aim of our recommendations is to help EU institutions and member states change the paradigm so that care policies are developed in a holistic manner. In fact, very often, in particular at EU level, Care policies are looked at just from a particular perspective: e.g. from the point of view of womenâ€™s employment, gender equality, long term care (ageing of the population) and sustainability of financing. These aspects are of prominent importance; nonetheless we think that care policies and practices should be developed in an integrated way and with a rightsâ€™ based approach: to ensure coordination between equality and non-discrimination policies, including gender equality, the promotion of quality employment, social protection, social inclusion and fight against poverty, migration policies, policies to ensure that the legal framework is the most suitable for social services (state aid and public procurement), economic policies and cohesion policies (EU funds, in particular structural funds).
In our opinion, a holistic approach can be achieved when policies and practices simultaneously:
- respect usersâ€™ fundamental rights (first chapter of the recommendations)
- promote an adequate balance between care, work and private life for informal and family carers (second chapter)
- invest in accessible, affordable and quality care services for all (third chapter)
- promote quality employment in the sector (fourth chapter).
You can read the presentation, our recommendations and the materials of our conference last year.