In September 2022, the European Commission published the European Care Strategy, a significant milestone with the aim to ensure the availability of quality, affordable, and accessible care services while improving the conditions for both care receivers and those providing care, whether professionally or informally.


Key Components of the EU Care Strategy include:


  1. A Council Recommendation on the Revision of the Barcelona Targets on Early Childhood Education and Care Which:
  • Encourages Member States to increase participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC) to facilitate women’s labor market participation and support children’s development.
  • Sets new targets for participation, raising the rate for children under 3 years old to 45% and for children from age 3 until mandatory school age to 96%.
  • Emphasizes quality, accessibility, and affordability of services, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Calls for support for fathers to take paternity leave and equal sharing of care responsibilities within couples.


  1. A Council Recommendation on Access to Affordable High-Quality Long-Term Care which:
  • Acknowledges the diverse provision of care services across Member States and encourages national action plans.
  • Recommends investing in the health and care workforce, improving working conditions, and access to training.
  • Focuses on ensuring social protection, tailored care options, high-quality standards, and sound policy governance.
  • Urges the ratification and implementation of the ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers.


Eurodiaconia welcomes both Recommendations but highlights the need for greater recognition of not-for-profit care providers and tailored funding for implementation. Collaboration between national long-term care coordinators and not-for-profit organizations should be fostered to enhance mutual learning, service delivery, and innovation.


What’s Next?


While the EU Care Strategy lacks legislative power, it encourages action by Member States through the nomination of national long-term care coordinators and the presentation of national action plans. The Commission commits to various actions, including the establishment of a sectoral social dialogue, skills partnerships, and research on the care sector’s social and economic value.


What Our Members Can Do at the National Level:

  • Engage with your national long-term care coordinator, appointed by each Member State, to monitor and participate in the Strategy’s implementation.
  • Stay informed through the European Semester process, focusing on Country reports and country-specific recommendations.
  • Share updates on the Recommendation’s implementation in your country.


Eurodiaconia remains committed to advancing this crucial initiative through the High-level Expert Group on Social Services. Together, we can work towards a more equitable and inclusive European Union. For more information and to find your national long-term care coordinator, visit this website. Click here for the comprehensive briefing.