Go back to the Europarl portal

Choisissez la langue de votre document :

  • bg - български
  • es - español
  • cs - čeština
  • da - dansk
  • de - Deutsch
  • et - eesti keel
  • el - ελληνικά
  • en - English (Selected)
  • fr - français
  • ga - Gaeilge
  • hr - hrvatski
  • it - italiano
  • lv - latviešu valoda
  • lt - lietuvių kalba
  • hu - magyar
  • mt - Malti
  • nl - Nederlands
  • pl - polski
  • pt - português
  • ro - română
  • sk - slovenčina
  • sl - slovenščina
  • fi - suomi
  • sv - svenska
Parliamentary questions
PDF 26kWORD 29k
7 October 2009
Answer given by Mr Špidla on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-4315/2009

The European Union has no direct competence in family policy. However, following the debate on the demographic future of Europe triggered by the Green Paper ‘Confronting demographic change: A new solidarity between the generations’ that it published in 2005(1), the Commission acknowledges the need to improve conditions for families, in particular through better reconciliation of work and family life. Following the March 2007 European Council, the European Alliance for Families was established as a platform for mutual learning on better addressing the needs of families and removing obstacles to having and raising children.

Meeting the needs of families calls in particular for policies to promote equality between women and men, investments in the quality of childcare services and a shift to a more flexible and family-friendly organisation of working time. Countries that are most advanced in these areas generally have both high birth rates and high levels of female employment.

The EU’s policies to promote gender equality, and in particular the childcare objectives agreed at the 2002 Barcelona European Council, therefore represent an important contribution to creating better conditions for families and enabling people to have the number of children they wish.

With regard to the specific situation of large families, the Social Protection Committee’s 2008 report ‘Child poverty and well-being in the EU: Current status and way forward’(2) is worth mentioning. It found that the percentage of children living in large families (i.e. those with three or more children) was highest in northern Europe, where fertility, childcare availability and female employment rates are above the EU average and child poverty rates are lower than elsewhere. Conversely, it found that there were fewer large families in southern Europe, where fertility rates are low and a relatively high number of children are at risk of poverty. It is the Member States’ responsibility to tackle the difficulties facing large families and the risk of poverty affecting children in them. This calls for a combination of benefits in cash and kind of measures to allow the parents of large families to pursue gainful employment.

(1)COM(2005)94 final.

Legal notice - Privacy policy