Following a meeting in January with MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, co-rapporteur of the joint EMPL and FEMM committee report “Towards a common European action on care” (to be adopted in June), EFFE was invited to a public hearing on this subject, organised by these two committees in the European Parliament on 24 March. Vice-president D. Šuica and both commissioners N. Schmit and H. Dalli attended the hearing.
This invitation is a strong sign of recognition of the PHS sector in Europe and of EFFE’s status as an employer representative within this sector, and is part of EFFE’s active involvement in promoting greater support for PHS and the role of the direct employment model in European care systems. The federation, in response to the future European care strategy, advocates for affordable, accessible and quality long-term care through free choice of care pathways, to which the EFFE model can contribute. This is the vision that was put forward at the meeting with Sirpa Pietikainen, and the first results are positive, with the publication of the preliminary report of the two commissions on 15 March, which includes the main areas of concerns defended by EFFE.
Entitled “A European Care Strategy – How to improve the lives of carers and their dependants”, the hearing was intended to discuss the issues and challenges surrounding the care sector at European level and the reforms needed to ensure its resilience. In light of the growing need for care with the aging of the European population, the two chairs of the parliamentary committees, Dragoş Pîslaru and Robert Biedroń thus recalled the paradox revealed by the pandemic: the care system has emerged as essential within European society, yet suffers from a lack of political support, staffing, and funding. This is precisely what the forthcoming strategy in this area is intended to address, as the three Commissioners present made clear: they mentioned the gender dimension as a major element of the strategy’s provisions (women represent 90% of the formal workforce but also bear a heavy responsibility for informal care). The need to provide quality care, accessible and adapted to the specific needs of each person, which will require a better attractiveness of the sector and measures against certain obstacles to its full potential (undeclared employment), was also highlighted by N.Schmit, commissioner for Employment and Social Rights.
Among the panel of experts invited for the occasion, EFFE thus revealed its position on the guidelines to be followed for the implementation of a strategy that meets these challenges.