CoR members call for new European Care Strategy to include proposal to encourage private-sector investment and to set targets for care for the elderly.
Local and regional leaders have backed the creation of a European care strategy intended to encourage minimum standards for care for European Union citizens throughout their life cycle, from early childhood to old age. The recommendations call on national governments to invest more in care services and try to standardise data, backs EU-level action to attract skilled workers into the sector – and suggests the introduction of investment criteria to stimulate private-sector funding into the sector.
Care services are a responsibility of member states and sometimes of
regional governments, but the COVID pandemic put a spotlight on weaknesses
on care services within the Union, prompting calls for greater European
support – and funding – for care services. An immediate result was
substantial EU funding for health care and child care through the emergency
Resilience and Recovery Facility. A longer-term result – a European Care
Strategy presented by the European Commission in September 2022 – sets out
ways in which the EU can support member states in their provision of health
care, addresses ways of helping and increasing the number of care staff,
and urges an increase in care available to young children.
The CoR's rapporteur on the
European Care Strategy
(AT/PES), a minister in the Austrian region of Burgenland – called for "a
joint strategy shared by all EU local and regional authorities responsible
for health, care and education, and Member States, as well as the EU
institutions, to make care more accessible, affordable and of better
quality. The strategy should help closing the territorial gaps in
availability of and access to long-term care, in particular in rural and
depopulating areas". He also stressed that "the creation of affordable,
more accessible, available and high-quality care services is an important
step towards ensuring women's participation in the labour market and thus
Mr Dorner won support for a proposal not included in the European
Commission's strategy – the introduction of a 'social taxonomy', a common
code for investors, businesses and regulators on finance that can be
considered to make a sustainable social contribution. The development of a
'green taxonomy', seen as a means of increasing investment in
climate-related action, is a cornerstone of the European Green Deal and has
been adopted by EU member states.
The CoR also called for the extension of the 'Barcelona targets' to include
care for the elderly, a proposal not included in the European Commission's
strategy. EU member states in 2002 established targets – the 'Barcelona
targets' – for early-childhood education and care. Their aims include
making it easier for women to join the labour market.
A large majority of CoR members took the view that the proposals –
including the introduction of "national long-term care coordinators" and
support for a standardisation of data across the EU – would not weaken the
authority of national governments.