Further insight on the worsening social and employment situation in the EU, and its impact on population health and services, fit well into the theme of EPHA 2012 Annual Conference and our Open Letter to the Heads of States on the impact of the crisis and austerity measures on health systems and health in the EU.
The Review outlines that:
- although Member States (MSs) have continued to implement active labour market policies and measures to reduce the gap between temporary and permanent contracts, wide disparities in employment terms, quality and conditions remain a challenge for many;
- despite slight increased participation of women in the labour market (lack of data on quality and income pay-gap), youth unemployment continues to be problematic;
- although health and social services remain a key driver for providing employment (especially for women), and will continue to do so given the context of an ageing population and rising demand for healthcare, sharp cuts in relevant budgets seem to worsen the situation in the future, with a threat of low quality jobs, out-of-pocket payments or unequal access for all levels of society, including the most vulnerable;
- social safety nets served as a protection against the economic shock in the early part of the crisis. However, since 2009 a sharp decrease in nearly all MS has been observed. Spending on health and social services has been particularly affected, with a likely detrimental effect on population in the near and long-term;
- in an increasing number of MS living conditions have been deteriorating with more and more people unable to pay utility bills, afford healthy food, rising levels of homelessness, and women facing with higher deprivation than men.
No specific mention to the situation of the Roma community has been made in the Quarterly Review.
Earlier last month, Laszlo Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, released a series of policy proposals - the Employment Package - accompanied by country-specific recommendations on how to adequately address the situation.
Some of the relevant recommendations are:
- To support employability through effective and individualized active labour market policies, improve transition from school-to-work, promote apprenticeship, and provide available and affordable care services;
- To further boost investments and development in the health sector;
- To improve the targeting, the coverage and the efficiency of Member States’ social services in order to be able to effectively tackle poverty and social exclusion.
EPHA related articles
European Commission employment package confirms health as growth area
EPHA Press Release: MEPs lead urgent plea from health community to prevent health crisis in Europe
The role of social protection in combating the financial crisis - Working for Equity in Health report
EPHA Press Release: “The economic crisis should not turn into a health crisis” – John Dalli, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection
Briefing notes - The economic crisis & EPHA fact & figures on the impact of the financial crisis on health
EPHA ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2012 Restructuring health systems: How to promote health in times of austerity?
MEPs call for Social Investment Pact as a response to the crisis
European Observatory study on health systems, health, wealth and societal well-being
EAPN’s analysis of the current economic and social crisis in the EU
A worsening of social inequalities in the European Union
How can social protection respond to the financial crisis?
The Impact of the crisis on nurses and nursing: new evidence from EFN
2011: increasing poverty in Europe concludes first annual review of Employment and Social Developments in Europe
European Parliament condemns austerity policies and call for more social inclusion