EU Care Strategy is a positive first step

European Commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Helena Dalli

The European Care Strategy unveiled today is an important step towards achieving the Social Pillar and improving care systems across Europe, for those who need care and carers alike.

The Party of European Socialists (PES) commends European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit and European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli for their work – through the new strategy – to improve long-term care and early childhood education and care, and to strengthen gender equality and social fairness in care systems.

The PES wants to see more investment in care in Europe, and better conditions for both formal and informal carers, who are predominantly women.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“I commend Commissioners Schmit and Dalli for bringing this new strategy forward. It has the potential to make a true difference to Europe’s care systems, changing the way governments and societies think about care.

It is time that care was considered a social investment, a public service, at the core of our European social model. We saw during the pandemic that quality public services are crucial to meet care needs in every Member State.”

Care work remains undervalued, underpaid and unequally distributed, with women shouldering the largest burden. The European Care Strategy contains measures to boost women’s employment and close the gender employment gap, which must be part of a holistic approach towards an economy of wellbeing, which recognises and values care through the provision of public services infrastructure and social protection policies, as set out in the 2020 PES Women publication ‘A feminist economy for Europe’.

The Strategy also dovetails with the new European Child Guarantee – a key progressive policy – by supporting the care provided to children. The PES stands in favour of free, quality, early childhood education and care available to all and has already put forward the European Child Guarantee as a tool to meet this objective in the EU. The foreseen revision of the Barcelona target can be an additional useful tool towards broader access to childcare across Europe.