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Health First Europe attended the 2nd meeting of the European Parliament Interest Group on Carers in the Active and Healthy Ageing Partnership, held on 11 October at the Parliament. Chaired by MEP Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE) and with the participation of Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner of the Digital Agenda, this interest group debated their particular interest regarding challenges and responsibilities in the ongoing Pilot European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, as well as to explain why their role in this area is crucial.

Commissioner Neelie Kroes explained that the European Digital Agenda, including the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (AHAIP), concerns all European citizens and elder population, especially in terms of quality of life and dignity. Indeed, Carers, as one of the first interfaces with care recipients when patients are suffering from chronic illness or disabilities or ageing peoples, play a key role in this global strategy. The European Commission insisted on the necessity to communicate effectively with all stakeholders and establish strategic aims like innovate inhuman capital by using new technologies and to improve productivity for an economic inclusion. From a pragmatic point of view, important financial support for Carers does represent a good investment even in mid-term in order to create sustainable financial systems and new business models in care services for caregivers and care receivers as well.

The President of Eurocarers, Robert Anderson, highlighted how Carers can actively impact the AHAIP and why having a voice in this process would create a win-win situation in this context. In the perspective of the AHAIP, Carers’ daily support represent many opportunities for local implementation:  intervening in both informal and formal-care provisions, helping elder peoples achieve and maintain an active and healthy life, improving the sustainability of care services, making Carers’ organizations more user-friendly, and integrating users in ICT development.

The European Parliament Interest Group on Carers in Active and Healthy Ageing Partnership helps to establish a real dialogue between policy-makers, stakeholders and civil society at national and EU levels. Afterwards, Carers’ organizations need to pursue their efforts in this area and wait for November when the Strategic Implementation Plan of the AHAIP, after a long process of commitments, will propose final recommendations.

Marian Harkin’s website: