Progressive leaders, academics and activists call for a European Child Union

Even before the pandemic, 23 million children in the EU were at risk of poverty […]

Even before the pandemic, 23 million children in the EU were at risk of poverty and social exclusion. The pandemic has further exacerbated children’s inequality and it is now time for the European Union to act.

On the occasion of the World Children’s Day -November 20-, more than 400 prominent figures from the world of politics, academia and civil society have already joined a Call to demand a rapid entry into force of the European Child Guarantee and a Next Generation EU funding that truly works for Europe’s next generations.

What?

The EU can and must do better. The joint call for a Child Union is grounded on three objectives:

  1. A rapid entry into force of the European Child Guarantee and expand its political and fiscal space. Negotiations are ongoing and all efforts must be made to ensure that it becomes an integral part of EU policy. This includes a dedicated budget of 20 billion Euros and binding financing commitments for the Member States in their ESF+ national programmes.
  2. The development of an investment ecosystem for European children starts with the correct planning of the Next Generation EU funding. The Child Union should become a fundamental pillar in Europe’s recovery strategy. This requires re-calibrating National Recovery Plans for the care services of Europe’s future generations.
  3. Guaranteed equal access to quality and inclusive early childhood education and care for all. European law should ensure child rights and legal entitlements with universal and affordable public provisions for all and dedicated resources for disadvantaged and at-risk children

“Europe’s greatest fragility is the undermining of welfare which is leading to increasing inequalities and has made our society more vulnerable to economic, environmental, and health crises. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed new and dramatic challenges to vulnerable households. As experts, activists and policymakers we think that it is time to raise Europe’s ambitions and put forward this strong call for a Child Union. This expresses the demand to the EU to raise the expectations of its citizens and ensure well-being not only through Banking Union, Capital Markets Union, Energy Union and other economic cooperation but through a Social Union that has a strong mandate on the well-being of every child.”

Why?

Already before the pandemic, 23 million children in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The financial difficulties endured by European families in this period as well as the disruption in educational and care services have added additional strain to an already worrisome situation. The impact of the pandemic on children’s inequalities is alarming.

Our children are the key to building more just and sustainable societies. Overwhelming evidence shows that inequalities in life chances are already formed in the early years of life and are largely passed on through generations. At present, only half of EU member states have reached the EU objective of a 33% coverage for early childhood education and care (ECEC) below the age of 3. In 9 countries, less than 1 out of 5 children benefits from childcare, and that is usually the one from a better-off household (EUROSTAT).

A Study led by FEPS and partners finds that European 0 to 3 years old children from the bottom 40% socio-economic status are about 15% more likely to attain average scores once teenagers if they have access to childcare at the age of 1 or 2. The Study indicates that unless we provide quality and inclusive services, care and education in the early years in Europe remains a means for children from better-off households to achieve their best potential rather than a means to reduce inequalities and eradicate social exclusion.

Who?

This is a joint initiative coordinated by: the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), S&D Members of the European Parliament, the Party of European Socialists (PES), PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions, Pablo Iglesias Foundation (ES), Progresiva Društvo (SI), the Institute for Social Democracy (HU), Reggio Children (IT) and Save the Children Italy.

Signatories:

Full text of the call and a list of the more than 400 signatories are available in this link, divided into different categories: European politicians, national politicians, civil society and academia.

Find all related publications
Publications
04/10/2022

Europe’s social integration

Welfare models and economic transformations
22/09/2022

Strengthening the European Health Union

Matching free movement of persons and equal access to health for all
07/09/2022

A Job Guarantee for Europe

Economic policy innovation for Stability, Security And Sustainability
31/08/2022

Mental health and suicide during the pandemic Series

Policy Briefs Series
Find all related events
Events
Upcoming
16/12/2022
Online (Closed-door)

Bringing the initiative on Zero Unemployment in the EU forward

With unemployment rates below 7%, creating jobs risks becoming a less relevant priority for the […]
Past
07/11/2022
Online (Closed-door)

Mental health in Europe

An ongoing crisis 
22/11/2022
Online (Closed-door)

Social business training workshop

FEPS, together with Anny-Klawa-Morf Foundation, presented a call for participants for the online Training Day […]
Find all related news
News
10/05/2022

Call to participants: Training Days for Social Business

Switzerland, September 3rd 2022
25/01/2021

Joint Progressive Call for the right to housing

Our housing system is broken. Over 85 million people in the European Union are overburdened […]
18/11/2020

Progressive leaders, academics and activists call for a European Child Union

Even before the pandemic, 23 million children in the EU were at risk of poverty […]
23/09/2020

Launch of the report: next event Inequality and the top 10% in Europe

Did you know you may be among the better off? A great share the top […]
Find all related in the media
In the media

Une époque sous instabilité émotionnelle

by Marianne 15/09/2022

‘Wave of poverty’ expected to hit Brussels in winter, says social welfare expert

by Euronews 08/09/2022

Ukraine uses Russian invasion to pass laws wrecking workers’ rights

by Open Democracy 20/07/2022

COVID-19 could be incentive to give EU more health powers – Euractiv

by Euractiv 03/03/2022