Commission answers MEPs: EU Care Strategy is coming

Answering written questions by MEPs Sirpa Pietikäinen (FI, EPP), Luke Ming Flanagan (IE, The LEFT) and Marisa Matias (PT, The LEFT), Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit reiterated the announcement of the EU Care Strategy for 2022. According to the Commission, the Strategy will cover both care users and carers, as well as formal and informal care. Childcare will be covered by a parallel initiative to revise the Barcelona targets for Early Childhood Education and Care.

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EU Care Strategy should address people in need for care, informal carers and the care workforce – question by MEPs

A group of 32 MEPs has addressed a written question to the European Commission, asking for details about the European Care Strategy. The MEPs point out that according to a recent EU report, only one in three persons in need for care can actually access long-term care services. In September, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a European Care Strategy in her State of the Union Speech.

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MEP Manders: Ease the access to COVID19-certificates in paper!

Member of the European Parliament, Toine Manders (NL, EPP) has put forward a written question to the Council of the EU on ‘digital green certificate’. He highlights the burdensome procedure in the Netherlands to receive a paper version of the certificate, barring the digitally excluded from participating in social life.

The digital COVID certificate allows to proof vaccination against, recovery from or negative testing for COVID-19 in all EU member States. With the easing of lock-down measures, many activities such as entering shops or eating out are now conditional on the presentation of such a certificate.

In some member States, residents who have been vaccinated can call a telephone hotline to receive a paper version of their certificate, in order to allow the digitally excluded to receive their papers and continue participating in society as everyone else. However, callers are confronted with long waiting times.

MEP Toine Manders – Photo credit: European Parliament

Waiting times are long and callers are often simply told to apply online. This is precisely what they wanted to avoid.

MEP Toine Manders

Mr Manders asks the Council what steps it undertakes to allow the digitally excluded, of which many older persons are part, to access their certificates.

The Council responded to the written question by pointing towards the Council recommendation on the Digital COVID certificates, indicating that member states shall provide the certificates in a digital or paper form, or both. In the response, the Council also underlines that the format has to follow the choice of the person to whom the certificate belongs.

The Council did not respond to criticisms on the difficulties in actually obtaining these certificates, however.