Newsletter March/April 2019

In this Newsletter

Posting of third country nationals in the construction sector: Kick-off in Ljubljana

Guaranteeing posted workers’ rights

EPPIC: Exchanging prevention practices on polydrug use among youth in criminal justice systems

SWaPOL: Social work and policing

How to make LTC work more attractive?

4 case studies: Implementing the Posting of Workers Directive in Eastern Europe

Who is telling the truth? Sonja Spitzer presented on 23 April 2019

Addressing challenges in the long-term care workforce

Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals for people with disabilities in Austria

Measuring long-term care: access, quality and sustainability

WHO Regional workshop for national policy experts on healthy ageing

Contributing to strategies on women’s and men’s health in WHO European Region


Con3Post kick off in Ljubljana

The first event of the project Posting of third country nationals: Mapping the trend in the construction sector (Con3Post) was held in Ljubljana on March 28, 2019. The teams of the five partner organisations: Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts – ZRC SAZU (Slovenia), European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (Austria), Ca’ Foscari University of Venice – UNIVE (Italy), University of Jyväskylä - JYU (Finland), and University of Warsaw - UW (Poland) – got together to discuss the coordination and implementation of the project activities. In the afternoon, the lead partner, ZRC SAZU, also organised a methodological seminar on the use of foresights as an innovative method in migration research.

EEPOW Peer Review on guaranteeing posted workers’ rights, Vienna, Austria

On the 28 February 2019, the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (European Centre) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (BMASGK) co-organised a peer review in the frame of the Posting of Workers in Eastern Europe (EEPOW) project. The focus of the peer review was on how authorities and organisations manage posting and exchange knowledge and information, as well as establish and/or strengthen cooperation between the different institutions across the countries. The event was greeted by Eva-Maria Fehringer, Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection and by Federico Pancaldi, European Commission. Sonila Danaj (European Centre), Robert Murr (BMASGK) and Walter Gagawczuk (Arbeiterkammer) presented the Austrian experience, as the host country, in implementing the Enforcement Directive by focusing on access to information and transnational exchange and cooperation. While Cathleen Rabe-Rosendahl, Center for Social Research, Halle, Germany, and Sanja Cukut Krilić, ZRC SAZU, Slovenia, presented the experience of the peer countries, i.e. Germany and Slovenia respectively.

EPPIC: Exchanging Prevention Practices on Polydrug Use among Youth in Criminal Justice Systems

The EPPIC project is concerned with young people aged 14 to 25 that have come in touch with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and that show indications of problematic drug use. They either have been sentenced to prison or received an offer for diversion to take health-related treatment during the suspension of a prison sentence. Drug treatment is offered in prison, in-patient homes, and out-patient facilities.

This project works on interesting topics at the interface of the Criminal Justice System and the Health System and tries to find best-practice models of services that are most suitable to the needs of young people as clients of both systems.

In total, 189 interviews with young people in Denmark, Italy, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Poland were conducted to learn about drug use trajectories, factors of onset, persistence and desistance, and particular intervention needs.

SWaPOL: Social work and policing

SWaPOL will support exchange and cooperation in crime prevention and foster understanding and mutual trust between the professions of public order management. A good balance of social welfare and law enforcement policies helps social inclusion of marginalised people in public space.

The SWaPOL training focuses on

  1. general questions of collaboration between social work and police
  2. prevention of addiction and delinquency by young people in night-time economies, and
  3. social welfare policies and community policing strategies to tackle problems of homelessness and migration in urban areas.

Training activities draw on recent developments in high school didactics (student-centred learning, constructive alignment) and apply creative exercises and tasks for student involvement.

SWaPOL is funded by the EU-programme "ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnerships for Vocational Education and Training" to develop a joint training package for social workers and crime prevention officers in the police in several European countries. A handbook for trainers will be developed and a pilot course (3+2 days) will be tested before it can be integrated in existing vocational training schedules at schools of social work and in the police force.


How to make LTC work more attractive?

In this article, Heidemarie Staflinger and Gudrun Bauer analyse the situation of long-term care (LTC) workers in Austria in view of the current policy plan to enhance the attractiveness of working in the LTC sector. Characteristic for working in the LTC sector are high demands and constraints, little time for personal interactions and a substantial shortage of care professionals. Among other studies, the article highlights results of the NORDCARE study that shows considerably high burdens and exhaustion levels as well as alarming intentions of LTC workers to leave the sector. A decisive challenge for the LTC sector and related policies is therefore to provide decent working conditions suited to attract care professionals sustainably.

Posting of Workers in the Candidate Countries

The four case studies on Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia focus on examining the existing legal and regulatory framework, governance indicators, human capacities as well as the institutional arrangement, inter-agency cooperation and stakeholder engagement with regard to the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) in these candidate countries of Eastern Europe.


Sonja Spitzer: Who is telling the truth? Biases in self-reported physical and cognitive health status of older Europeans

Sonja Spitzer explained the bias in self-reported physical and cognitive health of the population 50+ in 19 European countries. In her analysis she used micro data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) to compare performance-tested outcomes of mobility and memory with their self-reported equivalents.

Addressing challenges in the long-term care workforce

The European Centre and ICF Mutual Learning Services are organising a series of five workshops in Brussels about challenges and potential solutions in the area of long-term care (LTC) from an EU perspective.

The third workshop took place on 1 and 2 April 2019 and served to discuss the most pressing policy challenges around the LTC workforce. Kai Leichsenring wrote and presented the thematic background paper ‘Training, recruiting and retaining the long-term care workforce’.

The paper as well as the ensuing discussions during the workshop focused on the definition and description of the individual components of the ‘LTC workforce’ across Member States, including the often neglected group of care-givers, namely (unpaid) informal carers (family, friends and neighbours). Deteriorating working conditions, problems in recruiting and retaining staff, issues in training and skills development as well as a wide range of unsolved regulatory caveats regarding migration and the mobility of LTC workers were identified as key challenges. These critical themes became the starting points for the development of recommendations to improve education, training and working conditions as well as to support innovative initiatives that are able to ensure an appropriate level of the future LTC workforce both in quantitative and qualitative terms.

Multi-stakeholder workshop: SDGs and people with disabilities

The Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (BMASGK), the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (European Centre) and the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz are jointly organising a multi stakeholder workshop on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for people with disabilities.

The workshop took place on 27 March 2019 at the JKU in Linz and was the first of five events organised as part of the ‘Leaving no one behind’ series of multi-stakeholder workshops organised jointly by the BMASGK and the European Centre. The series serves to engage stakeholders at the national, regional and local level.

Measuring long-term care: access, quality and sustainability

The European Centre and ICF Mutual Learning Services are organising a series of five workshops about challenges and potential solutions in the area of long-term care (LTC) from an EU perspective.

The second workshop took place on 7 and 8 March 2019 and served to discuss the existing and possible comparative indicators to measure quality, access and sustainability of LTC. Ricardo Rodrigues wrote and presented the thematic background paper for this event.

Discussions focused on the diversity of definitions and thresholds to access LTC and related challenges for comparative research and assessment. Based on these caveats it also remains difficult to assess and measure the quality of LTC, which often leads to 'second best' solutions based on clinical indicators or structure indicators of quality. It was underlined that sustainability would need to be discussed not only from a fiscal perspective but with a strong focus on outcomes, other social costs such as inequalities and long-term consequences to informal care. 

WHO Regional workshop for national policy experts on healthy ageing

On 26-27 February 2019, Magdi Birtha participated as an expert and moderator in the WHO regional workshop in Moscow, Russian Federation. Policy experts and representatives of 32 countries of the WHO European region reviewed the current status of implementation of European and global strategies on ageing and health and discussed policy innovations as well as promising practice in the context of rapidly ageing populations in Europe. 


In 2012, Member States of the WHO European Region endorsed the first WHO “Strategy and action plan for healthy ageing in Europe, 2012–2020”. It provides a framework for action on ageing and health, which is one of the priorities of Health 2020, the overarching European policy for health and well-being. By endorsing the WHO Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016–2020), Member States confirmed their commitment to developing policies that ensure older adults live not only longer but healthier lives. Indeed, a growing proportion of overall gains in life expectancy over the last two decades has been due to reduced mortality and better health among those that are aged 70 years and older. In response, a large majority of Member States have instituted policies for healthy ageing. These have been supported by a growing number of country cooperations and projects at the Regional Office, with ageing mainstreamed in the work of numerous programmes in the Regional Office and included in a range of other strategies and action plans. Policy innovation in countries has broadened the scope of action, often with the goal of preventing or reversing decline in functioning, to prevent or postpone the onset of frailty and to empower older people to lead active and independent lives.

The meeting was therefore a timely opportunity:

  • To review progress in countries with policies that address the health and social care needs of ageing populations and the opportunities of growing longevity;
  • To discuss innovations that are needed to achieve Universal Health Coverage for older people;
  • To present new WHO tools and recent policy guidance and to identify remaining gaps;
  • To consider how to close gaps in evidence and improve monitoring systems to trace progress at national and international level;
  • To discuss how to strengthen international cooperation in Europe and explore synergies between initiatives;
  • To consult with participants how to move forward with a “Decade of action on healthy ageing.

More information about WHO’s work on healthy ageing is available at: 

Contributing to strategies on women’s and men’s health in WHO European Region

Ricardo Rodrigues participated as a speaker at an expert meeting at the WHO Europe office to debate strategies on women's and men's health and wellbeing. His presentation focused on gender differences in health care and some of the key issues debated were avoiding stereotypes, the need for a women's AND a men's health strategy, gender backlash and evolving socio-determinants of health. The participation in the expert meeting followed the contribution to the WHO Report on Men's Health last year and provided a very good stepping stone for the kick-off to the FUTUREGEN project - on health and care gender inequalities across cohorts - to take place soon.