Press Releases EPP Group putting care at the heart of the EU agenda

EPP Group putting care at the heart of the EU agenda

Harnessing EU funds to improve the provision of care across the EU, with targets based on reliable data. Supporting all carers in their work and recognising their skills. Positioning workers to take advantage of future care jobs while boosting the labour market participation of women and adapting to a less female-dependent care model. These, and other measures, are part of the plan the EPP Group in the European Parliament launched today to put care at the heart of the EU’s agenda with its call for a European Care Strategy.

“COVID-19 has shown the essential nature of care within our society, both for those who receive care and those who give it, yet the care sector needs significant investment and reform. When it comes to taking care of our children, older persons, persons with disabilities and long-term illness, as well as their carers, we need a robust and future-proofed strategy at EU level to complement and bolster Member State action in the care sector. We want to see Member States invest EU funds, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the EU4Health Programme and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), in care infrastructure and facilitate accessible and affordable services for all”, said MEPs Frances Fitzgerald and Dennis Radtke.

Fitzgerald is the EPP Group’s Spokeswoman for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, while Radtke is the EPP Group’s Spokesman for Employment and Social Affairs.

“Caring responsibilities almost always fall to women, indeed they account for 62% of informal carers for older persons or persons with disabilities. Women therefore often adapt their employment and careers to their caring schedule, contributing to gender employment, pay and pension gaps. This leads to an increased risk of poverty as well as reduced taxes paid to Member States, with a €370 billion annual loss of GDP for Europe. It is vital for society that we address this inequality, with research into the economic value of care being a key element. We encourage Member States to reflect periods spent on care responsibilities in pension schemes, with a view to reducing and eventually closing the gender pension gap, as well as building on the EU’s Work-Life Balance Directive”, said Fitzgerald.

“In health and social care there is potential for up to 8 million jobs across the EU by 2030, so Europeans must be ready to take advantage of these future-proofed employment opportunities. We need a European framework to strategically upskill and reskill workers and to formally recognise carers’ skills through a certification process. The time has come to recognise the value of the unpaid work of informal carers at Member State level. All carers should have access to social security systems, and Member States should examine how best to formalise employment and therefore revenue collection in this area. It is vital that we protect the occupational health and safety of carers, and that the European Commission’s EU strategic framework on health and safety at work is implemented fully with respect to carers”, said Radtke.

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