Annual theme

In order to support the achievement of the main objectives of the Social Platform, the strategic plan includes a commitment to establish annual themes, which address cross-cutting issues in order to promote the engagement of civil society with issues of key importance across the European Union.

Annual theme on CARE: "Our vision of care that respects the rights of individuals, guarantees access to services and promotes social inclusion"

Download our publication: Social Platform's recommendations on CARE (ENG) - recommendations for care that respects the rights of individuals, guarantees access to services and promotes social inclusion
Annual Conference: We care, how can EU care?

Social Platform's final conference on CARE “We CARE, how do EU CARE?” took place on Friday December 9 at the international auditorium in Brussels with over 150 registered delegates.

In the introductory speech Heather Roy, vice President of Social Platform, outlined why Care was such an important topic for Social Platform. “The members of Social Platform are faced on a day to day basis by the challenges that undermine the respect of the rights, the quality of care provided and the well-being and the quality of life of both people in need of care and of their carers, whether they be professional, voluntary, informal carers or family carers.

She then highlighted our overall vision of Care that came about after 2 years work with 46 members. “Our vision of care, a vision that promotes the further development of a caring society in which high quality, personalized care empowers people, facilitating in turn their engagement in society. We have a vision of care that respects the fundamental rights of care users, and promotes social inclusion and quality of life for all. That respects the fundamental rights of caregivers and allows them to benefit from an adequate life balance whilst ensuring a better sharing of care responsibilities between generations and genders. Is supported by investment in quality care services to ensure accessibility, affordability and availability for all across Europe and that encapsulates decent working conditions and quality employment for all care workers.”

Commissioner Andor (Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion) gave the Key Note speech where he praised the work of Social Platform and its members on this issue. “On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to pay tribute to the work undertaken by the Social Platform and its members. In these times of major budgetary constraints you play a key role in raising awareness of the need to protect the rights of people who need care, as well as those of carers, whether formal or informal.”

He also welcomed our recommendations on Care “I think that the holistic approach that you have adopted is key. I agree that care is not only vital for social solidarity and social cohesion, but can also be a major source of job creation and ultimately helps to support sustainable economic growth. It is also clear to me that more thought needs to be given to the fundamental rights aspect of care. These Recommendations make an important contribution to this and the wider debate on care. I am certain that my services will draw inspiration from working with you on this major topic.

My message to you today is that Europe does care and will increasingly devote more attention to caring issues.

Ewa Borowczyk, Minister Counsellor, Head of the Employment and Social Policy Division, EU Polish Presidency highlighted the importance of Social Platform’s role in social affairs in Europe “You are an important part of social affairs debate in Europe , very in line with the logic of the recent “European years”, i.e. European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010, European Year of Volunteering 2011 and the incoming European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012.

The appropriate approach to the care issues is a great challenge. The Social Platform's recommendations show us the right way to tackle this issue, as they do not define Care only by the groups of beneficiaries, but refer to various forms of child care, long-term care for elderly persons and dependent adults. At the same time ,they take into account certain general principles and requirements which should be fulfilled by all types of care – e.g. respect for dignity, non-discrimination, equal treatment.

Luca Jahier, President of Group III of the European Economic and Social Committee, said that “The recommendations are an excellent initiative by Social Platform, an extremely valuable tool for decision makers that the EESC will transmit internally. The paper made them understand how care is related to fundamental rights (in particular to Art 1, 3, 7, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 24, 34, 36 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU). Health and care are the biggest of Services of General Interest and developing care is smart response to the EU crises. Many countries experience cuts for health care and care, measures which must be seen on the contrary as an investment rather than expenses”.

Vladimir Tchernega, Secretary to the Advisory Group on children’s rights and social services, Council of Europe: This is the first time a paper tries to mainstream care through different policies – the Council of Europe appreciates this brave attempt by Social Platform, and the Council of Europe will use the document in its daily work. Especially appreciated is the chapter on carers – it’s high time to give informal carers a status, e.g. exploitation of migrant carers and improvement of volunteering carers…”
Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, Secretary General, EPSU - European Public Service Union: “EPSU (We are) is very happy with the paper of Social Platform on Care, since it is the first one to link quality services and quality of working conditions”

Other speeches and presentations are also available to download including:
  • Fiona Williams Emeritus Professor, Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE), University of Leeds - Speech and Presentation
  • MEP Pervenche Beres Chair, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, European Parliament - Video message by MEP Pervenche Berès
  • Ana Llena Nozal Health Division, OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - Presentation
  • Javier Guemes Acting Director, EDF - European Disability Forum - Presentation
  • Luca Jahier President of Group III, European Economic and Social Committee. Speech
  • Frits Tjadens Researcher, HASCA - Health and Social Care Associates. Presentation
  • Carola Fischbach - Pyttel, General Secretary, EPSU - European Public Service Union. Presentation

Read the full agenda of the conference, the profile of all our speakers, the full minutes and our recommendations on CARE (recommendations on CARE in FR)