Magazine article European Social Policy

Family Policy : Presidency Questions Barcelona Child Care Targets

Magazine article European Social Policy

Family Policy : Presidency Questions Barcelona Child Care Targets

Article excerpt

The Czech EU Presidency wants to start a debate on a "possible revision" of the Barcelona objectives, in particular the child care target, during the informal meeting of the Union's ministers for family affairs, on 4 and 5 February in Prague. The European Commission, and most likely also the Nordic member states, will back the Barcelona targets, while the Presidency has a very different EU target in mind for collective early child care. "We think this should be left to the member states themselves to decide," said Jana Rihova, the spokesperson for Czech Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Necas.

Nevertheless, Rihova expects "understanding" from other former Communist countries (like Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) on the Presidency's thinking. Under this concept, which dates from 2002, collective child care should be provided to 33% of children under three years of age.

According to Chantal Hughes, spokesperson for Employment Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, the Commission is fully committed to the Barcelona targets and will not identify with the Czechs' stance. "Despite some important progress in many member states over the last few years, most member states are still a long way from reaching their targets on child care facilities and too often the existing provision is inadequate."

The same opinion emerged from the Commission's work-life balance' package of October 2008, which included a report on child care services. Back then the EU executive also proposed to extend fully paid maternity leave from 14 weeks to 18 weeks. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.