Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

Press release | Which strategy for equal opportunities for women and men?

Brussels, 3 February 2016

Today the European Parliament, gathered for its Plenary Sitting in Strasbourg, adopted a Resolution on the new Strategy for Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Europe post-2015, with 337 on 751 votes in favour of a joint text tabled by S&D, ALDE, GUE and Greens Groups. 

This resolution addresses important issues which are of particular interest for all European families: family-work life balance, fight against violence and equal opportunity between women and men. We welcome the fact that the European Parliament pays attention to these issues. Nevertheless, prior to the vote, FAFCE drew the attention of the Members of the European Parliament to the fact that a resolution on the same subject was already adopted by the European Parliament only six months ago, entitled "EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015". We stated that the reiteration of several documents on similar issues raises concerns for the civil society on the intention of the European Parliament to be the democratic voice of Europeans: is this the most efficient way in favour of paving the way to real equal opportunities for women and men?

The adopted resolution requests a new communication “in line with the international agenda, namely the Beijing +20 outcome document of 2015 and the new framework for ‘Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations (2016 2020)’”. We believe that the latter document, adopted as a “Joint Staff Working Document”, cannot be the basis of a European Commission Communication. It contains several controversial issues, on which there is no ground for a wide political consensus in the EU nor among Member States (reproductive health and rights, sexuality education, etc…). 

We welcome the adoption of Amendment 6, which "Recalls that the implementation of EU law and policy tools must comply with the principles of subsidiarity and ‘added value’, that uniform rules are not always necessary for the practical and competitive functioning of the internal market, and that the Commission must consider the administrative burden arising from its legislative proposals and the differing cultural contexts and practices in different Member States".

We also welcome the adoption of AM 17, which deleted the request to the European Commission for further legislative initiatives: we wish to insist on the need "to focus on the lack of implementation of existing legislation in Member States before considering the necessity of submitting new legislative proposals and policy tools in the field of gender equality", as AMs 5 and 14 were asking. 

Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General 
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