EU Member States should help single mothers by setting up "family centres" to provide them with temporary accommodation, advice and education, says Parliament in a resolution passed by a show of hands on Tuesday.
The number of single mothers is growing in all advanced and industrialised countries, as a result of divorce, separation or never having been married, stresses the text.
Rapporteur Barbara Matera (EPP, IT) said during the debate on Monday: "The report is full of excellent initiatives and new objectives that the EU should set itself, because this will become a central issue and one of Europe's priorities, considering that the number of single mothers is growing".
Single mothers should get housing support and priority on waiting lists for houses to rent, says the text.
The resolution calls for tax deductions for single-parent households (26) and other incentives for companies to employ single parents or provide on-site childcare facilities.
Education to escape poverty
To reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, MEPs emphasizes the importance of education and information about the sexual and reproductive rights of women, in particular for younger women.
Young pregnant women should be enabled to continue their education in order to obtain qualifications and jobs to escape poverty, says the resolution, noting that single mothers throughout Europe are less educated then their married counterparts.
The resolution calls for parental training courses to prepare and teach young single parents without income how to raise children more effectively.
Access to training, vocational training and specific scholarships for single mothers whether they are unmarried, widowed or separated, should be facilitated through funding by the European Social Fund and Member States, says the text.
Member States should ensure that child support from non-custodial parents is paid regularly, says the text, adding that single fathers should also benefit from all initiatives and actions in favour of single mothers.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution