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.
The Toy Safety Directive sets out the safety requirements that toys must meet before they can be marketed in the EU. This initiative aims to protect children better against risks in toys, particularly from chemicals. It builds on work such as the chemicals strategy for sustainability, and on an evaluation of the current toy safety rules completed in 2020. At the same time, it aims to strengthen the Single Market for toys.
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.
The European strategy for data proposed the establishment of domain-specific common European data spaces. The European Health Data Space (‘EHDS’) is the first proposal of such domain-specific common European data spaces. It will address health-specific challenges to electronic health data access and sharing, is one of the priorities of the European Commission in the area of health and will be an integral part of building a European Health Union. EHDS will create a common space where natural persons can easily control their electronic health data. It will also make it possible for researchers, innovators and policy makers to use this electronic health data in a trusted and secure way that preserves privacy.
This opinion presents the EESC's contribution to the current discussion on the future of care and health across Europe and to the European Care Strategy. The Committee recommends setting common minimum standards to ensure that every one living in the EU has access to affordable, accessible and high-quality care, that there is proper investment in the care services and in health, that the health sector, care providers and health workers are properly recognised and valued, including through investment in skills, decent working conditions, and the creation of quality jobs.