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Eurocarers Newsletter

Dear readers,

The EU initiative on a “New start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families” has required a lot of attention and efforts by Eurocarers and many others since the previous edition of our newsletter. The proposal – if upheld at the end of the ongoing consultation process – could indeed lead to the launch of a comprehensive EU policy framework focusing on many of the aspects contained in our mission statement. These include the generalisation of flexible working arrangements for people with caring responsibilities, the enforcement of and new incentives for a gender-balanced distribution of care duties and the introduction of new provisions on Carers’ Leave. The European Commission is expected to finalise and put forward its final proposal by the end of March 2017 and, despite a “hard-fought” dialogue between the social partners, we have good hopes that an ambitious package will ultimately emerge. 

The initiative has also generated various welcome “by-products” as a growing community of decision-makers are now championing the idea that an age-friendly society demands resolute investments in the formal provision of people-centred care combined with measures focusing on the wellbeing, employment and empowerment of carers. The Annual Growth Survey 2017, released by the EC just a few days ago, the new draft EP report on the need for an EU strategy to end and prevent the gender pension gap, the report by the European Social Policy Network on Work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives and the new Eurofound Working Conditions Survey are only but a few examples of the recent policy updates that Eurocarers will keep supporting.

You will find more details about these exciting developments – and more – below. 
This edition of the newsletter will be the last one for this year so, a bit in advance, I want to wish you a very good and relaxing seasonal break on behalf of the Eurocarers team! 

Stecy Yghemonos

Executive Director 

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EU Policy Developments

EU council on Economic and Financial Affairs adopts conclusions on fiscal sustainability regarding health and long-term care

  The ECOFIN Council adopted conclusions on fiscal sustainability challenges as concerns health and long-term care systems on the 8th November. Health and long-term care contribute to higher labour market participation, longer working lives and productivity and are therefore seen as crucial in the context of an ageing society – as reflected in the council conclusions. 
European Commission publishes its Work Programme 2017

On the 25th of October, the European Commission published its Work Programme 2017 – Delivering a Europe that protects, empowers and defends. This Work Programme sets out the key initiatives the Commission commits to delivering by the end of 2017 based on ten principles. Health does not seem to form part of the EC priorities for next year but the development of a Social Pillar of rights (to which Eurocarers has contributed) and work in the areas of youth and employment offer some windows of opportunity for advocacy.

 
Update on the work of the EU Social Protection Committee

  For your information, please find below some of the most recent deliverables of the Social Protection Committee (SPC), an EU Treaty-based advisory policy committee for the Employment and Social Affairs Council (EPSCO), which may be of interest to (y)our work. The SPC monitors the social situation in the EU and the development of social protection policies in the Member States. It provides a representative forum for multilateral social policy coordination, dialogue and cooperation at EU level, bringing together policy makers from all EU Member States and the Commission.
EU consultation on possible action addressing the challenges of work-life balance faced by working parents and caregivers

The second stage of the consultation of the social partners at European level on possible action addressing the challenges of work-life balance faced by working parents and caregivers is still ongoing. Nevertheless, according to our sources it reveals extremely difficult to reach a consensus between social partners on an EU-level initiative on carer’s leave. As a result, the chair of the EMPL Committee at the EP has been instructed to draft a letter to the responsible Commissioners jointly with the FEMM Chair inviting them to submit as soon as possible a legislative proposal following the failure of the social partners to reach an agreement.

 
Draft EP report on the need for an EU strategy to end and prevent the gender pension gap

  A new draft own-initiative report on the need for an EU strategy to end and prevent the gender pension gap by the EP FEMM (Women’s Rights and Gender Equality) Committee calls on the Member States, on the basis of a pooling of best practice, to introduce ‘care credits’ to offset breaks from employment taken in order to provide informal care to family members and to count those credits towards pension entitlements. 
DG EMPL - Work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives

This new report by Denis Bouget, Slavina Spasova and Bart Vanhercke (OSE) is concerned with some of the key questions that arise regarding (a) the work-life balance of working-age people – mainly women – who care for disabled and chronically ill dependent relatives, (b) reconciling work and care obligations and (c) maintaining the well-being of the carers and their families. The analysis focuses on carers of working age, whether or not they are actually working.

 
European Economic and Social Committee - Adoption of the opinion "The rights of live-in care workers”

  The organisation and provision of long-term care (LTC) is a challenge many Member States are facing. The sector is low paid, highly feminised and employs often undocumented migrant workers. It suffers from workforce imbalances and skills shortages. Situations of undeclared work and poor working conditions affect mainly "live-in" care workers. Proactive measures to encourage the creation of quality, well-paid jobs in the sector with decent working conditions are needed to ensure an adequate labour supply for the LTC sector and the European Economic and Social Committee adopted an opinion on the Rights of live-in care workers, available in all EU languages.
Eurofound releases its sixth European Working Conditions Survey

The sixth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) builds on the lessons learned from the previous five surveys to paint a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. EU employment policy priorities aim to boost employment levels, prolong working life, increase the participation of women, develop productivity and innovation and adapt to the digital challenge. The success of these policies depends not just on changes in the external labour market but also on developing good working conditions and job quality. 

 
 

Research in Action

Public stakeholder consultation – interim evaluation of Horizon 2020

The European Commission has recently launched a public stakeholder consultation which will feed into the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020, the EU's €77 billion research and innovation funding scheme running from 2014 to 2020. This interim evaluation will help improve the functioning of Horizon 2020, and will also be an important element in the preparation of the next EU research and innovation programme. 

 

Draft EP report on EU options for improving access to medicines calls on the Commission to promote stakeholders-driven R&D

 

A new draft own-initiative report on EU options for improving access to medicines by the EP ENVI (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) Committee calls on the European Commission  to promote transparency on the costs of R&D and to promote R&D driven by patients' needs, while fostering social responsibility in the pharmaceutical sector, by setting up an EU public platform aiming at defining EU public health needs in a democratic and inclusive way 

TRACK: Engaging in the second and last year of the project

Since September 2015, Eurocarers is actively engaged as a partner in the European project TRACK, in the framework of the Erasmus + programme. The project aimed to support informal carers through recognition of skills and training. 
The consortium met in Halle (Germany) last 29 and 30 September. The project is moving on positively at a regular pace.

 

 

Events and Calls for proposals

Call for proposals 2017 Erasmus+

The call for proposals under the Erasmus+ Programme 2017 are now available on the European Commission’s website. Erasmus+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train gain experience, and volunteers abroad. 

 

Call for papers - International Journal of Care and Caring

 

The International Journal for Care and Caring (IJCC) is a new multidisciplinary journal, edited by Prof. Sue Yeandle (UK, Editor-in-Chief), Prof.Yueh-Ching Chou (Taiwan, Co-Editor); Prof. Michael Fine (Australia, Co-Editor) and Prof. Joan Tronto (USA, Consulting Editor, North America), with the support of a distinguished International Editorial Board. Published by Policy Press, and multidisciplinary and international in scope, it will publish high quality contributions on care, caring and carers from all regions of the world.

Second European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing, Brussels, 6-7 December 2016

Eurocarers is delighted to invite you to attend the second European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing, to be held in Brussels, The Square, on the 6th and 7th December 2016. The Summit is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions. Eurocarers will act as one of the European Commission’s strategic partner on this event.

 

International event on the future of people with severe disabilities after the death of the parents, Italy 26-27 January 2017 - Call for best practices

 

In June 2016 Italy had a first legislation on the thematic called "after us", regarding the future of people with severe disabilities after the death of the parents. This new law calls us for a wider reflection (a cultural reflection) on the role the families (carers)  are supposed to play and what can be the role of the third sector, non limiting the reflection only to people with severe disability. 

 

News from the network

Belgium - Second Study Day on young carers

On 5 October 2016, the Belgian organisation Jeunes Aidants proches has organised a second study day on young carers. There are many young carers. They support a family member, a relative, a sibling who is in a situation of dependency as a result of an accident, illness, disability or addiction.

This second study day aimed to contribute to addressing the situation of young carers by:

 

Eurocarers representation at Family Carer Training seminar and new website launch in Dublin

 

Care Alliance Ireland were pleased to welcome representatives from two European organisations at the recent one day seminar entitled “Supporting Your Delivery of High Quality Family Carer Training”, which took place on Monday 7th November 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. 

Ms Petya Bancheva (Alzheimer Bulgaria) and Mr Ivar Paimre (NGO Estonian Carers) took part in the seminar, which focussed on best practice in the sphere of Family Carer training.

Care Alliance Ireland publishes fourth paper in Discussion Paper series entitled The Wisdom of Family Carers 

Following on from previous papers in the Series, Care Alliance Ireland is pleased to announce publication of the fourth in a series of Discussion Papers on various topics concerning Family Carers, and those services who provide supports for them. 

It is widely understood that Family Carers are more likely to experience poor health, economic hardship anxiety, stress, loneliness and isolation than the general population. 

 

International Conference “Support of Carers in the Czech Republic and Abroad: From Theory to Practice"

 

The Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren is organising the International Conference “Support of Carers in the Czech Republic and Abroad: From Theory to Practice" to be held on Friday, November 25, 2016 at the premises of the Chamber of Deputies in Prague, Czech Republic. The Conference will host leading experts, including representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs; Stecy Yghemonos, Executive Director of the Eurocarers; 

Juggling family and work – Leaves from work to care informally for frail or sick family members – an international perspective

In response to a greater need to conciliate care and work for those with sick, disabled or frail family members, some countries in Europe have put regulations in place that allow employees to provide and/or organize care for family members while remaining attached to their workplace. 

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research released a policy briefing on the topic with two main objectives.

 

Report from the European Health Forum Gastein 2016

 

The European Health Forum Gastein is the most important health-related event in the European Union and a meeting point for experts from different fields within the health system. It differs greatly from other events which are generally focused on very specific areas.

Life expectancy reaching a new high, changing fertility patterns, and internal and external migration leading to greater diversity are just some of the phenomena of demographic change currently being experienced in Europe. 

Carers in Europe: Labour Rights and Human Rights

On the 19th October 2016, Eurocarers took part in the conference organised by the European Parliamentary Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) on the subject: "Carers in Europe: Labour Rights and Human Rights" held at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The conference specifically focused on the right to care and be cared for as well as on the common challenges facing paid and family carers. Spanish, Irish and Greek cases were also presented. 

 

Opening of the Population Europe Exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels

 

The Population Europe Exhibition “How to get to 100 – and enjoy it”, which has been travelling over the past years throughout Europe, was - by invitation of Heinz Becker, MEP - on display from the 26thto the 29thof September at the European Parliament in Brussels. The exhibition was opened with an event on the 26thSeptember, organised by Population Europe in collaboration with the ESRC Research Centre for Population Change CPC at the University of Southampton and the Office of Mr. Heinz Becker.

Eurocarers takes part in OECD conference on 'Governing Education in a Complex World'

Co-hosted by the Flemish Ministry of Education and the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) on the 17-18 October 2016, this seminar brought together state of the art research with country experiences of effective modern education governance. Plenary and workshop discussions explored shared responsibility and stakeholder involvement, participatory governance, and accountability and professionalism. 

 

Active, Healthy Ageing in the EU: Growing the Silver Economy through Innovation and Partnership

 

Across Europe, higher life expectancy rates combined with a decreasing number of births are the main rationale behind an increasingly ageing European population. According to the European Commission, the proportion of people over 65 will reach almost 1/3 of the European population by 2030, while the working age population in the EU is expected to decline by almost 15%. The growing number of older people has been perceived by many as a threat to Europe’s economy and competitiveness, in particular when it comes to the sustainability of its healthcare systems.

Press Release - Eurocarers welcomes the call for investment in care services in the Annual Growth Survey 2017

 

Eurocarers, the European Association working for and with informal carers, warmly welcomes the European Commission’s call for further investment by member states in fully-fleshed and accessible health and long-term care services as well as its suggestion to credit care duties in pension systems, as part of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) 2017. 

“Care services are not only essential to respond to the demographic challenge facing Europe, they are also 

Eurocarers took part in a research seminar on inequalities in Europe 

On 10 October, Claire Champeix represented Eurocarers at the seminar “Work, Welfare and Inequalities in Europe”, organized by DG Research and Innovation.
This one day seminar presented research evidence in relation to the present and future of European welfare and work, reversing inequalities, social investment and poverty etc. The seminar brought together leading researchers in the fields of social and employment policies, together with EU policy makers, international experts and other relevant stakeholders.

 

 
Eurocarers submitted a contribution to the European Commission’s Consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights

  Developing a social right and sizing an opportunity for a rebalanced European Union
Back in March 2016 Eurocarers very much welcomed the launch of a Consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights by the European Commission (EC), aiming to rebalance the process of integration within the European Monetary Union through a stronger focus on employment and social dimension. (See Eurocarers Policy Briefing here).
Eurocarers participated in a conference on informal carers organized by the King Baudoin Foundation

On the 24th October, Eurocarers participated in the conference “Informal carers, key supports to elderly and weakened people” organized by the Belgian Foundation King Baudoin, aimed at presenting and discussing the results of two major pieces of research on informal carers. 
“ The economic  value of informal care  range from 621 to 1189 euros per month”.

 

 
Eurocarers took part in the 15th European Meeting of people Experiencing Poverty

  This event was organized on the 15th and 16th November by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) with the support of the European Commission, the Slovakian presidency of the Council of the European Union and the EAPN Fund. Francesca Centola and Claire Champeix represented Eurocarers.  Around 200 participants participated in this event, including people experiencing poverty from all over Europe, decision makers and officials from the EU and national levels, researchers and activists. 
Fourth Annual FamiliesAndSocieties Stakeholder Seminar "Policies for families: Is there a best practice?"

On 29 September 2016, Eurocarers took part in the Seminar “Policies for families: Is there a best practice?”, organised in Brussels in the framework of the FamiliesAndSocieties Project.
What are the current trends in social policies related to families in Europe? What are the most important areas for future policy interventions? Are there best practices to be followed? 

 
 
 
 
 

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