Maria Inês Costa (Master’s student in Human Rights at UMinho).
A 2018 report by the European Commission highlights that the European Pillar of Social Rights “makes explicit the commitment to people providing care, including their rights to flexible working and access to care services“, bearing in mind that data suggests that most long-term care in Europe – around 80% – is provided by informal carers, this is, people who care for dependent or elderly people, to whom they offer support in basic and/or instrumental activities of daily living. These caregivers are not trained in health care and presumably do not receive compensation for doing this work, neither do they possess a formal work agreement.
In fact, the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, whose goals are to be achieved by 2030, addresses the fact that the resilience of long-term care is being put to the test, not only by the additional strain of the pandemic, but also by demographic trends that suggest an increasingly ageing European society, requiring rapid and effective responses in terms of health care services, their quality and distribution across the territory. Eurocarers, the European network representing informal carers and their organizations, reacted positively to the proposal of the European Pillar of Social Rights, highlighting in a written contribution that support provided to informal carers was key to the sustainability of the health and long-term care systems through participation and integration policies focusing on their well-being, employment and empowerment. In a letter sent to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in April 2021, the European network insisted on the importance of implementing the principles outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights, and called for the urgent development of a global EU strategy on care, comprehensive enough to address all aspects of formal and informal care, including the current shortages in the informal care sector and the need to ensure support for informal carers to improve their situation, given their crucial role in providing care across the EU.Continue reading “Analyzing informal care from an EU perspective”