Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

„Children are not an illness“– FAFCE welcomes the new directive concerning the legal protection of expectant and nursing mothers

Berlin, 02.10.08

The President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE), Ms Elisabeth Bussmann, in principle welcomes the new directive for the legal protection of expectant and nursing mothers, the draft of which the EU Social Commissioner Mr Vladimir Spidla will present to the public on October 8th. The envisaged prolongation of maternal leave from 14 to now 18 weeks will make life easier for all mothers and their families.

"However, the justified family political intention to provide more time for children should rather be integrated within the frame of a continuation of the directive for parental leave", according to Ms Bussmann. "This would mean an increase of freedom of choice in the structuring of family responsibility for both, mother and father." On the other hand she welcomes the envisaged new regulation of wage compensation payments, the amount of which will in future depend on the salary – unlike the present EU-directive which orientates by the sick benefit, since: "Children are not an illness", as the FAFCE-President pointed out. "Apart from this, however, we should have expected that the national states themselves provide adequate regulations".  With a view to the new steps taken by the Commission it has to be critically questioned whether by means of regulations pertaining to labour law, now a European attempt is made to draw social political competences aside that primary are up to the member states themselves according to the principle of subsidiarity.
The principle of subsidiarity originally deriving from the catholic social doctrine and laid down in the European Treaties adjudicates extensive responsibility in a completely reversed manner to the respective lower levels. "The important European minimum standards are, good family policies will always be a duty of priority of the respective national society", stresses Ms Bussmann, "only in case the politicians should fail in finding reasonable regulations, Europe will be called for solutions".

V. i. S. d. P.

Stefan Nacke

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