The EESC proposes to launch a European Care Guarantee, which would ensure life-long access to affordable quality healthcare and care services for everyone living in the EU. It also underlines the importance of supporting families in their fundamental role as caregivers and asks for adopting specific measures to tackle Gender equality, namely addressing gender stereotypes, attracting more men in the sector and ensure better distribution of care within households.
In addition, the Committee highlights the need for a life cycle approach promoting healthy and active ageing and calls for the development of a European Strategy for Older Persons.
This Opinion welcomes the Commission's ambition to reduce the incidence of cancer, and its specific efforts to minimise exposure to asbestos at work. It recommends that the technical limit value for asbestos exposure under the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work should ultimately be set at a lower level than the Commission is currently proposing. This Opinion also suggests that roadmap of complementary measures over and above the Commission's proposals should be drawn up in order to achieve that objective. It calls on the EU and its Member States to actively promote an international ban on the use of asbestos and protection for workers dealing with existing asbestos during activities such as renovation, demolition and waste management.
Rare diseases are often chronic and sometimes disabling diseases affecting an estimated 25/30 million European citizens. Even more people are affected as care taker or family. Patients and relatives face difficulties in access to diagnosis, treatment or care and in their inclusion to society and labour market. In this opinion, the EESC presents its recommendations on how to improve social protection for these patients and raise awareness on their situation and needs.
This opinion draws attention to the needs of family members taking care of older, chronic ill or disabled relatives. Informal carers, as they are called, represented by a majority of women, work for free, and are more vulnerable to falling into poverty. The opinion calls for public policies in this field and a recognition of their important societal role.