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The European Commission has presented a European Care Strategy to increase access to high-quality and affordable care services in member states, while improving working conditions and work-life balance for carers. Published on 7 September, the strategy is accompanied by two proposals for European Council recommendations on long-term care and early childhood education and care; and recognises co-ops as major partners for public authorities in the provision of long-term care.

The Commission points out that 90% of the formal care workforce is made up of women, and 7.7 million women are shut out of employment because of care responsibilities. Its ideas to remedy this include revising the ‘the Barcelona Targets’ on early childhood education and care, set in 2002 to enhance women’s labour market participation.

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