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Following speeches by Luxembourg Minister for Health and Social Security, Mars di Bartolomeo and European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimir Spidla at two sessions dealing respectively with long-term care needs and responsibilities on Thursday 12 May, the morning session of 13 May dealt with protecting long-term care: private and public protection and changes in social protection in the 25 Member States of the European Union over the past few years.
The issues discussed at the session, chaired by Marten Lagergren of the Stockholm Gerontology Research Centre, were introduced by Gehrard Igl of Kiel University in Germany and by Jozsej Hajdu of Szeged University in Hungary. Comments were made by Valcarce Garcia, Spanish Secretary of State for Social Services, the Family and the Disabled, by Georg Fischer of the European Commission, by Kai Leichsenring of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Austria, by Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of the European Older People's Platform (AGE).
Three reports completed the afternoon session.
Professor Malherbe of Sherbrook University in Quebec spoke first and led the participants in a far-reaching examination on how the key values of autonomy, justice and equity formed the indispensable starting point for intra-European dialogue with a view to adopting common definitions. Professor Nicholas Barr of the London School of Economics showed how the values of ethics and social justice are compatible with the concept of efficiency. He also demonstrated how the State must replace private insurance to cover long-term care needs, which present risks and uncertainties in relation to their term, duration and scale of losses. Jérôme Vignon of the European Commission, echoing the reports of Professor Malherbe and Professor Barr, completed the trilogy with a report on the development of social protection in Europe.
The conclusions of the conference were drawn by Valcarce Garcia, Spanish Secretary of State for Social Services, the Family and the Disabled, Chlon-Dominczsak, Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Social Affairs in Poland and by the Minister for Health and Social Security in Luxembourg, Mars di Bartolomeo.
Meeting at a panel discussion moderated by Anne-Sophie Parent, the participants successively raised the long-term care issues in their respective countries.
Minister di Bartolomeo briefly summarised the past six years, since the application of the law on long-term care insurance in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In particular, he presented the very positive assessment that could be made in relation to the priority of enabling old people to continue living in their own home. After six years, a stabilisation in the number of old people entering nursing homes and care centres and an unprecedented increase in the supply of care networks to support old people living at home had been observed.
The Luxembourg Minister for Health and Social Security closed the conference by thanking each participant, including speakers, reporters and all those who had helped ensure that the conference went well, logistically and technically.
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