(29 March 2021) On 25 March 2021, EPSU together with the NGOs Age Platform and the European Disability Forum organized an event to call on the European Parliament to investigate the shortcomings and mistakes made that led to the tragic spike of deaths in care homes across Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This event is part of a process which started last summer with a request, supported by 88 MEPs, for the European Parliament to use all its powers to shed light on what has happened in residential care homes since the beginning of the pandemic.
This event served to continue this push. During the first panel, we saw how Parliaments in Europe have gone about investigating the shortcomings of government’s responses to COVID-19. Members of regional Parliaments in Brussels, Delphine Chabbert, and Lombardy, Gian Antonio Girelli as well as a member of the French Parliament Caroline Fiat highlighted the added value of instating such a committee to draw conclusive lessons from the past year. Understaffing, marketisation and a lack of priority early in the pandemic were highlighted as key factors in weakening the resilience of care homes.
In the second panel we heard from MEPs Pierfrancesco Majorino (S&D, IT), Anne-Sophie Pelletier (LEFT, FR), Tilly Metz (Greens, LUX), Radka Maxova (S&D, CZ) and Sirpa Pietikanen (EPP, FI). Speakers highlighted the need for increased investment into the health and care sector, especially in light of the Pillar of Social Rights. Also the intense pressure on workers was highlighted, with MEP Maxova stating that mental health issues urgently need more attention. All speakers agreed that the EP would need to hold decision makers accountable to be able to draw the right lessons from past failures. Having representatives from four political groups underlined that this need is felt by a broad front in the EP.
If you missed our event, you can watch the recording on our Facebook page.