German EU Council Presidency: Focus must be on families

[24. 6. 2020] On occasion of the start of the German Council Presidency, which begins on 1 July 2020, the AGF family organizations call on the federal government to place the family at the center of its activities and to take decisive steps forward with the so-called child guarantee.

“The Corona crisis has shown impressively throughout Europe that it is the families on whose basis society functions”, says Daniela Jaspers, the chairwoman of the AGF. “While the structures around them broke down, the families moved together and with great efforts they maintained a variety of basic social functions. However, they had to watch as “rescue parachutes” were put up for economic sectors, while for themselves it was getting tighter and tighter financially,” emphasizes Ms Jaspers. “All areas of family life were affected, including childcare, school, the reconciliation of family and paid work, as well as the care of relatives.

The family organizations emphasize that a holistic view of the needs of families and all family forms must be taken. In addition to the current efforts to overcome the Corona crisis, long-term considerations must also be taken into account. From the perspective of families, the interaction of time, money and infrastructure, which is regarded as a classic triad of good family policy, has to be at the centre of attention. It should be the aim of the federal government to take into account all three dimensions. “By that we can come a little closer to the goal of an every day reality in which all families can leave a life in accordance with their needs and requirements”, Jaspers concluded.

The family organisations highlight the so-called child guarantee as an important area in which progress must now be made urgently at European level. The process behind this is the European Commission’s plan to create guarantees for minimum supply for all children and young people in five central areas of life: health care, education, housing, nutrition and childcare. “In view of the still predominant child poverty in Germany and Europe, we must make progress in securing the social participation of children from poor families”, urges Sven Iversen, managing director of the AGF and explains: “The European Commission and Ursula von der Leyen in particular have already committed themselves to the child guarantee. It is now the responsibility of the Federal Government to push it forward an important step so that it can come into force by 2021 at the latest”.

In cooperation with the European association of family organisations “COFACE Families Europe”, the AGF will hold an event on 29 September on the development and implementation of the child guarantee.

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