The Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) of the European Economic and Social Committee has recently initiated a new own-initiative opinion entitled “Health Workforce and Care Strategy for the future of Europe“. It will constitute a response to the future European Care Strategy.
As part of this initiative, EFFE was invited to speak at a public hearing on 23 May 2022. The objective of this event was to collect contributions from policy makers, civil society organizations and social partners, which will feed into the content of the final report. On the basis of a first working document, the hearing also served as an introduction for the rapporteurs of the opinion to share with the public their views on the scope and angle of the topics addressed, as well as the limits and points of vigilance.
In the initial draft opinion published at the end of April, the EESC highlights the structural difficulties facing healthcare systems throughout the EU, contrasting them with the vital role of care and carers in European society. The EESC also calls on the Commission to be ambitious in defining the scope and objectives of the future European care strategy. To ensure its success, it should help improve working conditions, address staff shortages and ensure access to high-quality long-term care.
After a first political panel with representatives from the European Commission and the Eurofound agency (linked to living and working conditions), EFFE took part in the second panel of organisations from the social and care sector. (EPSU, Social Employers, HOSPEEM, ESNO). The recognition of different models of care for a free choice of the end-users while guaranteeing that the carers are supported, have access to continuous professionalization and social rights, was at the heart of its discourse. Before the conclusion of the report, the study group related to this own-initiative opinion will meet again on June 13, prior to a plenary vote in September 2022.