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COFACE calls for a European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life in 2014

[COFACE, Brussels, 14 May 2012] On the occasion of the United Nation’s International Day of Families, which takes place each year on 15 May, COFACE, the Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union calls for a European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life in 2014.

In 2012 the International Day focuses on "Ensuring work-family balance”. During the last decades several economic, social and demographic trends led to major obstacles in finding the right balance between work and family life. The wellbeing of families is key to a healthy and well-functioning society. The different family members should not be put in a position where they have to make very difficult choices between their work commitments and family responsibilities, but together we should find a way to enable families to have time for each other, access to available and quality services while they are at work and benefit from sufficient financial resources to live well.

Furthermore, high levels of job loss, youth unemployment and low birth-rates in addition to a very poor economic performance constitute the main challenges the EU is facing today. An adequate policy mix of family policy, social, economic, innovation and equal opportunities policies can address these issues both at EU and Member States levels and have an important role in finding viable, sustainable solutions.

"As a consequence of deepening social, economic and demographic disparities, families in Europe face many challenges nowadays. Supporting practical strategies and formal policies towards the promotion of work and family life reconciliation is crucial to tackle and prevent poverty and social exclusion. A European Year dedicated to highlight and present existing reconciliation policies would also give visibility to social responsibility, health, gender equality or child welfare policies”, stressed Annemie Drieskens, President of COFACE.

Reconciliation of work and family life are at the heart of the work COFACE has been doing for over 50 years at EU level, therefore COFACE calls for the European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life in 2014. COFACE believes that such a year would further highlight the efforts of the European Commission for a job-rich recovery.

COFACE encourages its member organisations and other European level institutions/organisations to celebrate the International Day of Families and support its initiative towards the European Year 2014.

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