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Press Release – Recognition and valorisation of informal carers – Italian members of the Eurocarers network meet their MEPs 

An informal carer is someone who provides care (usually unpaid) to someone with a chronic illness, disability or other long lasting health or care need, outside a professional or formal employment framework.

Approximately 80% of care across the EU is currently provided by relatives and friends. Informal carers therefore play a vital role in our welfare systems. This will become all the more true given the increase of long-term care (LTC) needs resulting from demographic ageing.

EUROCARERS – the European network working with and for European carers - aims to raise awareness of the significant contribution made by carers to our societies and to ensure that EU and national policies take account of them.

In line with this objective, Eurocarers has facilitated a policy dialogue between its Italian member organisations and a group of Italian MEPs. The event, hosted by Mr. Brando Benifei, MEP, took place on 7 December 2016. Participants included Mss Laura Agea and Elly Schlein, MEPs as well as the assistant of Ms. Patrizia Toia, MEP.

INRCA (the National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing)’s Centre for Socio-Economic Research on Ageing provided an overview of the situation of carers in Italy and underlined the peculiarities of the Italian LTC system, characterised by cash transfers and a lack of formal services. The negative impact of caring (i.e. difficulties in combining work and care, poverty, social exclusion, mental and physical health problems) and, consequently, the need to support informal carers for both human rights and economic reasons were also emphasised.

Anziani e non solo presented the measures needed in order to effectively address the needs of carers and the experience of Emilia Romagna was used as a good practice. Emilia Romagna is indeed the very first Italian Region that has adopted – as a result of its active citizenship approach - a law recognising and supporting carers as a core element of the care network surrounding the person in need and a key element  of truly integrated health and care systems.

A proposed law has now been presented to the two houses of the Italian Parliament, in order to upscale at national level what has already been implemented at regional level in Emilia Romagna (you can access the texts here).

Eurocarers warmly welcomes these promising developments and will support and promote them throughout Europe as part of its activities in 2017 and beyond.

As to the European level, it is urgent a coherent and integrated approach – a strategy- to translate carers’ needs in all policies areas. In particular, Eurocarers and its Italian members call on the European Union to:

  • Ensure that carers’ needs are taken in consideration in all policy areas, not only those related to health and care systems, but also employment, educational policies..
  • To monitor progress of the measures carried out by Member States to address the challenges posed by LTC, in the framework of the open Method of Coordination and of the European Semester
  • To ensure an effective exchange of information, experiences and good practices
  • To sustain and further develop researches on carers and a better collection and monitoring of data, including an allocation of EU funds in the field
  • To adopt legislative measures to explore the possibility of binding measures – while respecting the Member States’ competences and the subsidiarity principle- for example a Directive on carers leave.

Eurocarers - in cooperation with the European Parliament Interest Group on Carers, which he provides the Secretariat to- will continue to commit for the recognition and support of carers all across Europe, as policies and practices that support carers are a win-win strategy: for caregiver, for the assisted persons ad for society as whole.


End of the Press Release


The presentations shared during the meeting are available here.

For further information, please contact the Eurocarers Secretariat.


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