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Eurocarers Newsletter

Dear readers

With this last edition of our newsletter in 2017 comes the time to celebrate another eventful and prolific year for our network. When it comes to the policy environment, we are closing the year on a fairly promising note with the proclamation of the EU Pillar of Social Rights and the EC proposal on work-life balance for parents and people with caregiving responsibilities still on the table. Yet, as you will read hereunder, the proposal is still far from being approved and a lot more remains to be done at EU, national and regional level to ensure that it is not watered down or weakened in any way. The EU Pillar of Social Rights, which includes 20 key principles to deliver new and more effective rights for citizens, now offers a revitalised environment for our work and the emergence of carer-friendly societies in Europe. The principles that concern flexible working arrangements and access to affordable and good quality health and long-term care will be of particular relevance for our messaging around a combination of support and emancipating policy measures to address carers’ needs. The social scoreboard, which will be used to monitor the implementation of the Pillar, will be an important instrument to develop reliable indicators in the fields of long-term care and informal care.

Gender equality has also been extremely high on the policy agenda in the last few weeks and Eurocarers has actively been involved in events promoting the need to break down the barriers to the participation of carers – and particularly women - in education, employment and social life.

Our secretariat, activities and visibility should get a new boost in the coming weeks with the launch of six new research projects (two Horizon 2020 and four Erasmus +) focusing on young carers, integrated care and ICT based solutions for care and the recruitment of a new project officer, administrator and communication officer.

Find more information about these developments and more in the present newsletter and on our website. We hope that you will find this edition of the newsletter interesting, the next one will be circulated at the end of February 2018. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a very relaxing seasonal break on behalf of the Eurocarers secretariat. We sincerely thank you for your great support this year and look forward to more exciting collaborations next year!



EU Policy Developments

Council discussions on Work-life balance for parents and carers


On 26 April 2017, the Commission submitted its proposal for a Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. The general objective of the proposal is to improve access to work-life balance arrangements throughout the EU, such as leaves and flexible working arrangements, as well as to increase the take-up of family-related leaves by men, thus contributing to increasing female labour market participation. In particular, the proposal would reinforce the minimum standard on (i) parental leave and (ii) flexible working arrangements, and introduce new minimum standards on (iii) paternity leave and (iv) carers' leave.

EU needs policy framework for informal carers

On the 2nd October, an article written by Mr. Heinz Becker, MEP and co-chair of the EP Interest Group on Carers was published in The Parliament Magazine. In his article, Mr. Becker calls for a multidimensional approach to the challenges facing carers and – more importantly – calls on member states to take their responsibilities.

Key messages from the Employment Committee on employment in Europe today


In line with its mandate, the Employment Committee has produced its annual review for the Council of the employment situation in the EU. This is contained in the "Employment Performance Monitor" (EPM) which monitors progress towards the 2020 targets, and identifies key employment challenges and good labour market outcomes across the EU and in each Member State. The Employment Performance Monitor is submitted to Council alongside the EMCO Annual Employment Performance Report which summarises the main findings of the EPM and, looking forward, the developments required at EU and national levels to reach the respective employment rate targets by 2020. 

EIGE - Work in the EU: women and men at opposite ends

On the 17th November, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) published a new report on gender equality in accessing the labour market in the European Union.

The report highlights how, still today, gender is a defining factor in the EU labour market that divides the workforce. This leads to the untapped potential of talent, unmet aspirations and lost opportunities for women, men and society at large. 

EP Plenary - Combating inequalities as a lever to boost job creation and growth   


On the 16th November 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on combating inequalities as a lever to boost job creation and growth. 

Importantly, the Parliament notes that the Commission has responded to its call for a better work-life balance for women and men living and working in the EU, through the proposal for a directive on work-life balance for parents and carers to meet the challenges of the next decades; recalls its call for adequate remuneration and social protection, and stresses that the proposals put forward by the Commission are a good basis on which to increase women’s participation in the labour market and boost work-life balance and flexible working arrangements for both women and men, as a means of reducing inequalities in paid and unpaid work.

OECD - Progress on gender equality far too slow

Countries need to do much more to close gender gaps worldwide, according to a new OECD report.

The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle  presents a stark call to action, highlighting that very little progress has been made since the 2012 OECD report Closing the Gender Gap Now

OECD - Healthier lifestyles and better health policies drive life expectancy gains 


On the 10th November, the OECD published its new edition of Health at a Glance, which presents the most recent comparable data on the health status of populations and health system performance in OECD countries. 

'State of Health in the EU' report recommends digital transformation of health and care

"The digital transformation of health and care has great potential for strengthening the effectiveness of health systems", concludes the bi-annual State of Health in the EU report. And: The healthcare workforce has to be prepared for technical innovation and patients should be at the centre of better health data for policy and practice.

European Semester Autumn Package: Striving for sustainable and inclusive growth


On the 22nd November, the European Commission kicked off the 2018 European Semester cycle, which sets out EU's economic and social priorities for the year ahead, gives policy recommendation for the euro area and completes the assessment of euro area Member States' Draft Budgetary Plans.

Strategic Dialogue meeting "EU Semester" - draft conclusions

On the 26th October, Eurocarers took part in a Strategic Dialogue meeting on the "EU Semester" organised by DG Employment and hosted by Jeroen Jutte, Head of Unit "Employment and Social Aspects of European Semester" and Emmanuelle Grange, Head of Unit "Disability and Inclusion".

EP EMPL - Employment and Social Aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2018

  The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament published its draft report on the Employment and Social Aspects of the Annual Growth Survey 2018.
Eurofound - Rethinking working time in Europe

The results of recent research on working time patterns in the EU constitute a strong plea for working time policies that clearly acknowledge the life course perspective. This means that working time must not only be thought and organised in daily, weekly, monthly and/or yearly terms but also take into full consideration the different stages of our lives.

Gender Equality Index 2017: progress at a snail's pace


On 11 October 2017, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) releases its 3rd edition of the Gender Equality Index.

The Gender Equality Index is a composite indicator that measures the complex concept of gender equality and, based on the EU policy framework, assists in monitoring progress of gender equality across the EU over time.

The six core domains (work, money, knowledge, time, power and health) of the Gender Equality Index, assign scores for Member States between 1 for total inequality and 100 for full equality.

JOINT STATEMENT - Call to support swift progress on Work-Life Balance Directive at EPSCO Council

On 26 April 2017, the European Commission proposed a Directive to “support work-life balance for parents and carers”, a topic that will be on the agenda of the upcoming EPSCO Council of 7 December 2017. The Estonian Presidency has started the discussion, but is it of the utmost importance that the file progresses without being watered down and without any barriers slowing down its approval.

We are 10 civil society networks and organisations representing millions of children, young people, adults and families across the EU. We have been calling for such an initiative for a number of years and we welcome the proposal because we strongly believe it could have a real impact.

Right from the Start: Resetting the Agenda in Women’s Health in Europe

  On the 4th December 2017, Eurocarers took part in the Expert Conference organised by the European Institute of Women’s Health in celebration of the Institute's 21st anniversary and sixty-years of sex and gender equality in EU policy since the Treaty of Rome (1957). The event brought together decision-makers and thought leaders to review progress that has been achieved in women’s health, wellbeing and prevention. Participants explored existing gaps by employing a cross-sectoral approach and devise steps for moving forward together. The conference examined both the biological and social factors relevant to sex and gender equity and wellbeing across the lifespan through expert discussions.
Final conference of ENNHRIs project on The Human Rights of Older People and Long-term Care

As well as summarising the key findings from the project, which comes to an end in December 2017, the conference offered further guidance to policy-makers, care providers and advocates for older persons on implementing a human rights- based approach in the long-term care (LTC) sector and protecting and promoting the rights of older persons in (or seeking) care.

Ensuring that the human rights of older persons in LTC in Europe are respected is challenging, given the diversity and demands facing the sector.


Research in Action

DG ECFIN - The 2018 Ageing Report: Underlying Assumptions and Projection Methodologies

This report published by the European Commission on the 24th November details the underlying assumptions and projection methodologies used to estimate the long-term economic and budgetary impact of a population ageing. The aspects covered by this publication naturally include the impact of demographic ageing on informal care in Europe. 


Training Program for the Improvement of Quality of Life of Persons with Alzheimer through “Serious Games” - AD-GAMING project 


The 3rd Consortium meeting of the AD-GAMING project has been held on 25th October 2017 at the Bournemouth University. AD-GAMING aims to increase the technological and digital skills and ICT literacy of people with Alzheimer’s dementia, their families and caregivers, allowing them to use “Serious Games-SG”, with the purpose of improving their Quality of Life (QoL).

The Voices of Young Carers in Policy and Practice

Our colleague Daniel Phelps from the Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre, University of Winchester, UK, and has recently published an article entitled “The Voices of Young Carers in Policy and Practice”, which presents examples from England of the participation of children with caring responsibilities (young carers) in policy and practice at both local and national levels. 


ENhANCE: Eurocarers gets involved in new project focusing on Primary Health Care Nurse’ skills


ENhANCE (for EuropeaN curriculum for fAmily aNd Community nursE) is a project funded by the European Commission under the programme Erasmus+ (Sector Skills Alliance for delivery of Vocational Educational Training). It will start in January 2018 for three years. It aims at overcoming the mismatch between the skills currently offered to the nurses working in Primary Health Care and those actually needed in both public health care institutions and private service providers willing to implement innovative healthcare models centred on Primary Health Care.

The Edy-Care Project is online!

Eurocarers and its members Linnaeus University (Sweden), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), Anziani e non solo Società cooperativa (Italy), Cuidadores Portugal (Portugal) are partners in an Erasmus+ project on Innovative School Education Methodologies and Tools for Guaranteeing Social Inclusion of Young Carers (EDY-CARE).

The project aims to empower teachers and other school staff (e.g., school nurses, psychologists, social workers, management) in upper secondary education (ISCED-3 level)  to recognise adolescent young carers (16-19 years old) in classes and maximize their learning opportunities, while ensuring their social inclusion. 


Ireland: Post-Caregiving: Family Carers' experiences of cessation of the caring role- Implications for Policy and Practice


Care Alliance Ireland are delighted to have collaborated with University College Cork and others in a project funded under the Irish Research Council New Foundations Programme entitled;

The report, launched in November, found that post-caregiving involves significant challenges for former family carers, including return to work or education, economic and financial challenges, rebuilding social networks, changed family relationships and dealing with complicated grief and identity rebuilding.


Events and Calls for proposals

Is your organisation providing services to support the advancement of Integrated Care in Europe?

The 18th International conference on Integrated Care “Value for People and Populations: Investing in Integrated Care” will take place in The NBC Congrescentrum, Utrecht, Netherlands 23 – 25 May 2018.  The conference will provide partners with many opportunities to connect with policy-makers, practitioners and researchers working towards integrated care.


Digital Health & Wellness Summit 2018 – Barcelona, 27-28 February 2018


This annual event showcases the best innovators bringing digital technologies to improve healthcare delivery around the world. It allows matchmaking between suppliers and customers (policy-makers, hospitals, insurers), as well as digital health start-ups and investors.

The AAL Programme announces the new challenge-led call for proposals which will be published in February 2018

As part of the work-programme, the AAL Programme intends to launch a new Challenge-led Call for Proposals in February 2018: “Smart Solutions for Ageing well ".

The aim of this call is to support innovative, transnational and multi-disciplinary collaborative projects. 


AAL Programme launches the 2nd Smart Ageing Prize to support older people to participate fully in social life


On the 15th November, the AAL Programme, in collaboration with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, launched the 2nd edition of the Smart Ageing Prize. The Smart Ageing Prize is a competition that aims to identify the most promising solutions in Europe using ICT for active ageing and its main theme, this year, is ‘products and services that use innovative digital technologies to support older people to participate fully in social life’.


News from the network

Report on a symposium on Young Carers in Hamburg on 20 November 2017  
Following on from two earlier symposia on Young Carers in February and June 2016 in Hamburg the Working Group JUMP prepared another event with the following aims:
- Further awareness raising on the topic by presenting the views of young carers themselves, the results from research and practical approaches for support
- Further development of a concept for a pilot project in a school in Hamburg
- Learning from good practice in UK
- Broadening the network on Young Carers especially in Hamburg

2016 Irish census data and wording of the question on carers


The data relating to carers from the 2016 Irish Census have been published. They showed that 195,263 people identified themselves as carers. This was up from 187,112 in Census 2011 – a smaller than anticipated increase, representing 4.1 % of the total population. It was notable that the increase was fairly evenly spread between males and females. The Central Statistics Office’s highlights and full report is accessible here.

Update Joint Programme Initiative ‘More Years, Better Lives’

On the 23rd and 24th October, Henk Bakkerode attended the meeting of the Societal Advisory Board (SOAB) of the Joint Programme Initiative ‘More Years, Better Lives’ (JPI-MYBL), on behalf of Eurocarers. The event took place in Paris, in the French National Institute for Demographic Studies, .


A Policy Roadmap on Metastatic Breast Cancer


Despite significant progress made by the metastatic breast cancer (MBC) community throughout the last decade, there are still many areas in which further action is required. Limited awareness of MBC’s distinctiveness from early breast cancer, for instance, remains an issue which affects access to quality treatment and support services and prevents urgently needed improvements in patient outcomes. 

Italy: A Fund to support the caring role informal carers has been established by national law!

On 27 November 2017, the Senate Budget Commission has unanimously approved an amendment that establishes the "Fund to support the caring role of informal carers" at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies.

The Eurocarers member – Anziani e non solo società cooperative - has been working for ten years on the issue of the rights of family members who care for someone who has a long-term care need.


Eurocarers participated in the 16th European Meeting of People experiencing Poverty on In-work poverty


On 9-10 November, Eurocarers participated in the European Meeting of People experiencing Poverty focuses, this year focusing on the topic of in-work poverty. 

The event has been organised by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) with the financial support of the European Commission and in association with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Annual European Meetings for People Experiencing Poverty have been organised since 2001. 

Netherlands: Four directions towards effective informal care policy

Balance for informal caregivers

Since the decentralizations, the support of informal care givers has become increasingly important. However, efforts of local governments and care- or welfare organizations will often remain fragmentary if they do not start by asking: what do informal care workers need to keep a healthy balance in their lives? In this article, we reflect upon the things that you as a policy advisor or (care)professional can do to help informal caregivers to maintain a balance. 

Authors: Kitty van den Hoek and Hans Alderliesten


Seminar for family carers in Luxembourg


“Together strong for care”

On October 10th the RBS-Center for gerontology organized a seminar for family carers that was very well received by the target group, as well as by professional caregivers. Much interest was shown in the talk by the likeable psychologist and psychotherapist, Patrick Kolb, who worked for many years in the field of ambulant care and whose huge experience and competence enriched and motivated the participants in many ways.

Face to Face meeting of the Eurocarers Research Working Group, Bologna, 6-7 December 2017

The Eurocarers Research Working Group (ERWG) held its annual face-to-face meeting on the 6 and 7 December 2017 in Bologna – Italy. The event, which was hosted by our local member organisation C’ENTRO, brought together 19 participants from 15 organisations and eight countries. It gave a great opportunity to exchange on respective work (in the fields of integrated care, ICT, working carers, young carers, statistics, etc.) and to discuss how the collective work of our network can positively contribute to the collection of new data about informal care and caring. 



EuroCarers, Eurocarers – European Association Working for Carers,3, Rue Abbé Cuypers, 1040 Brussels,
Phone 0032 (0)2 741 24 05, Email, Web