Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

FAFCE Contribution towards a European Pillar of Social Rights

2017 01 23 EPSRIn 2015, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, announced the intention to launch an initiative to reinforce social rights in the European Union, also with a view to adapt them to changing labour market realities.

Therefore, the European Commission issued a preliminary version of the European Pillar of Social Rights in March 2016. It contains 3 main categories (equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and adequate and sustainable social protection) that cover 20 policy areas, from education to labour market policies, work-life balance and social benefits.

The document prepared by the Commission functioned as a starting point for a European-wide consultation to public authorities, civil society organisations and citizens, which lasted from March to December 2016.

The European Pillar of Social Rights is a good opportunity to promote family-friendly policies that address the real concerns of families. FAFCE participated on the public consultation, emphasising the need to promote a proper balance between work and family life, which contributes for family cohesion and may incentivise Europeans to have more children. This could be done by ensuring a common weekly day of rest and granting families a maternal, paternal and carer’s leave, which should be flexible enough for families to manage them according to their needs.

The European Parliament was also called to present its view on the Commission’s proposal and has approved its report on Thursday, 19 January 2017. All these contributions should inform further work to be done by the Commission, which will present concrete initiatives on the European Pillar of Social Rights in March 2017.

FAFCE will continue to monitor this issue, raising the voice of families and calling for family friendly policies.

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