COFACE Families Europe: Open Letter to EU Heads of State and Government, and Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs

Ahead of the meeting of the EPSCO Council which will gather National Ministers of Employment and Social affairs together in Brussels on 6th-7th December, we call on the 28 national governments to listen up.

We demand the realisation of the FULL package proposed in the EU worklife balance directive, with the acknowledgement of families in all their diversity.

It is urgent for National governments to move forward constructively with the European Parliament and find a workable deal on the directive which includes adequate compensation for paternity, parental and carers’ leaves, accompanied by flexible working arrangements. Without this, the directive will not truly support parents and carers to reconcile their care and work duties, will only be a cosmetic measure and will certainly fail to contribute to alleviating poverty in Europe. As the Council of the EU also reaches its position this week on the proposed Recommendation for “Access to Social Protection for workers and the self-employed”, there must be coherence. The right to adequate social protection must be mainstreamed in the EU worklife balance directive.

We expect the EU worklife balance directive to set minimum standards for Europe, enshrining minimum social rights for working parents and carers in order to build a more Social Europe. With the upcoming European elections it is crucial to give a clear sign to families that the Council of the EU cares about the working and living conditions of its citizens. Ensuring the economic system works efficiently for society, it needs to stop blocking negotiations on the EU worklife balance directive and allow the European Pillar of Social Rights to take new steps forward.

It is now or never to reconcile Europe with families, and bring positive change to the life of millions: men, women and children. Here is a reminder of where COFACE Families Europe stands together with 12 other EU and international organisations: