• Frances Fitzgerald

Frances Fitzgerald welcomes first ever EU strategy to support carers

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP


Wednesday 7th September 2022


Frances Fitzgerald welcomes first ever EU strategy to support carers

EU Strategy sets out targets for childcare, long-term care, and training opportunities

Dublin MEP Frances Fitzgerald has warmly welcomed the long awaited publication of the first European Care Strategy, which she played a key role in securing. The strategy covers early childhood education, long term care, and fair conditions for staff, and will ensure that formal and informal carers are supported with opportunities for increased training, better facilities, and improved standards.

MEP Frances Fitzgerald said, “Throughout my career in politics, I have always sought to support carers. As an MEP, I led my political group in the European Parliament (the European People’s Party) in convincing European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to support a new European Care Strategy as a priority. Following this, in Parliament we produced a position paper that examined the many possibilities for how the EU can enhance care across the Union. Now the final strategy has been published.”

The strategy sets out targets and proposals for all EU Member States to ensure:

·50% of children under 3 years participate in early childhood education and care by 2030

·96% of children between the age of 3 and the starting age of compulsory primary education participate in early childhood education and care by 2030

·Affordable, accessible, and high quality childcare

·A legal entitlement to early childhood education and care

·Improved training opportunities for carers and supporting informal carers

·Promotion of inclusion for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with additional needs

·Equal sharing of childcare between parents and family-friendly working-time arrangements

·Better data collection on where care is most needed and to tackle shortages

·Improved social protections and stronger legal protections for carers

·A quality framework for long term care

·Clear funding sources to invest in new infrastructure and training including the European Social Fund Plus, European Regional Development Funds, and the Recovery and Resilience Facility

MEP Fitzgerald added, “Throughout our lives, everyone will need or provide care at some point. High quality care services benefit everyone. It will particularly benefit women, who frequently provide the lion’s share of care responsibilities, often to the detriment of their employment opportunities and pension entitlements. Women are the main providers of informal care at home and 7.7 million women in Europe are estimated to be out of the labour market due to care responsibilities.

“Today’s strategy is a hugely significant and important moment for carers and those being cared for in Europe, and marks the beginning of a new approach to care as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital now that every Member State, including Ireland, commits to implementing the strategy in full as soon as possible.”

“We need a Europe that cares about its carers. Across the EU, including in Ireland, our carers do selfless work but often without the appreciation they deserve from society. During Covid19 restrictions, we clapped for caregivers every night, but it is long past time that society showed its gratitude in a more concrete way - in terms of employment supports, investment, workforce planning, and infrastructure. I believe Europe has a role to play."

ENDS

Further Information

Details of the European Care Strategy are available here: https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=89&furtherNews=yes&newsId=10382




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