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Reform Support

Supporting reforms to strengthen labour markets social protection systems, and migration management

Technical support to reform the elderly care system in Croatia

The Commission has provided evidence-base to support the revision of the Welfare Act with respect to elderly care. Specifically, the project helped national authorities better understand the care needs of the elderly and the type of care provided at home. Through extensive desk research, data analysis, consultations with stakeholders and review of international best practice, the project provided a set of policy recommendations tailor-made to the Croatian context to improve the social protection system for the elderly.

 

Context

In the last years, population ageing has increased at a faster pace and it will continue in the future, putting a strain on the welfare systems all around Europe. In Croatia, this demographic trend is coupled with high levels of poverty among vulnerable groups, including elderly people. Considering the limited capacity of the social protection system to support elderly people in need of care, and that informal caregivers alone provide more than 80% of elderly care, National authorities requested support tot the Commission to introduce a new cash benefit addressing this particular group.

 

Support delivered

The Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have supported Croatia by providing policy recommendations to improve the social welfare system. More precisely, the project carried out an unprecedented collection of feedback from key stakeholders, further capitalizing on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and fresh data collected throughout the duration of the project, i.e. through extensive exchanges with visiting nurses and other key stakeholders. The final policy recommendations are directly derived from this solid evidence base, alongside a review of international best practice.

 

Results achieved

The OECD, the Commission and the Croatian authorities presented the final results of the project to other key Ministries and stakeholders in March 2021. The key findings discussed have since been integrated into the new Social Welfare Act, which entered into force on the 17th of February 2022. Through the new Social Welfare Act, a number of strategic reforms and investments are foreseen, including structural changes to the Croatian long-term care system, in view of facilitating de-institutionalisation, and the transition to home and community-based services. Such investments will be primarily financed using Recovery and Resilience funds.