Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission
EC law in the field of social security provides for the coordination and not the harmonisation of social security schemes. The EU promotes cooperation between EU countries — through the open method of coordination — in particular on closing the gap between the supply and demand for long-term care by exploring how to extend or restore persons' with disabilities and older people's autonomy and capacity to live independently.
Long-term care provision and the recognition of informal caregivers (family assistants) are the responsibility of the Member States. Thus, it is within the competence of Italy to establish the detailed rules for application of its social security system and protection of family carers.
The EU can promote cooperation and exchanges of good practices among Member States and provide through the European Structural and Investment Funds resources for the development of social services, including community care, training for informal carers, etc.
Furthermore, as highlighted in the 2016 Work Programme, the European Commission is preparing a ‘new start’ initiative to allow for parents with children or those with dependent relatives to better balance caring and professional responsibilities. To broaden the knowledge of national measures to help working-age people with dependent relatives, the Commission has requested a set of reports which will be available in spring 2016.