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This article explores the engagement of the European Union with the caring relationship and focuses on the socio-economic impact on those who provide care. It argues that, albeit care was not an initial concern of the EU legislator, over the years, a discourse has gradually been shaped. The needs of carers have been addressed with a variety of approaches such as non-discrimination legislation and policy as well as specific employment policy and legislation. So far, however, this intervention has been ad hoc: accordingly it has not helped to formulate a coherent set of principles, let alone propose satisfactory solutions to the demands that carers experience on a daily base. It is now time to reshape this discourse: this article maintains that the caring relationship needs to be reconceptualised in order to fit the evolving reality. Ultimately, it argues for a more proactive, right-based approach and explores the possibility of introducing a specific catalogue of carers’ rights in EU law.
This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 3, Vol 28, Year 2016. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available here 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence.