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REASON 4: Better protect the elderly, children and those with disabilities.

What does the Treaty say?

Title III of the Charter Fundamental Rights focuses on equality:

  • Article 21 prohibits any discrimination based on sex, birth, disability or age;
  • Article 24 outlines the rights of the child to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being;
  • Article 25 outlines the rights of the elderly to lead a life of dignity and independence and to participate in social and cultural life;
  • Article 26 focuses on the integration of persons with disabilities and recognises their right to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.

How people are already benefiting from EU social inclusion and social protection policies?

Disabilities
The EU has focused its efforts on narrowing the gap in the employment rates between disabled and non-disabled persons though the implementation of active employment measures at member state level.

Child poverty
The EU monitors child poverty in each member state, and across the EU. The EU also raises public awareness on the issue of child poverty and gives support to the operating costs of European networks which work to tackle child poverty.

Pensions
Currently the EU is looking into the issue of ‘care credits’ which would give recognition to women who take periods of time out of paid work for caring responsibilities - such as looking after children or elderly relatives.  Under the ‘portability of pensions’ Directive proposed by the European Commission, workers switching jobs or countries in the EU will be allowed to transfer their benefits with them. This Directive is still awaiting approval by the Council and the Parliament.

Health
The European Health Insurance Card (the E111) ensures that citizens of the EU are guaranteed access to health care when they travel around the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland.