14 July 2022,
From 1st July to 31st December, following France, Czech Republic leads the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which rotates every 6 months between EU member states.
With the motto “Europe as a Task: Rethink, Rebuild, Repower”, the Czech programme sets up 5 priority areas:
- Managing the refugee crisis and Ukraine’s post-war recovery;
- Energy security: Energy resources diversification and providing Facilities before next winter as well as supporting all EU emission free energy sources;
- Strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities and cyberspace security;
- Strategic resilience of the European economy: Boosting European companies, encouraging better supply chains, free trade, industry, food security in Europe.
- Resilience of democratic institutions: reinforcing functional democratic mechanisms, protecting human rights, making use of the ideas shared during the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Will the EU Czech Presidency contribute to helping the families in Europe?
The Czech Presidency set up key objectives to help citizens who suffer social consequences of the economic crisis and it shows a particularly family-friendly orientation.
Protection of the most vulnerable groups, particularly those who face the war in Ukraine.
The majority of Ukrainians fleeing the war are women and children. “Protecting children and ensuring their access to education will be a priority.” Indeed, Ukrainian children face the risk to disappear from the educational system if no solution is found for them in the host countries. Moreover, “ensuring sufficient pre-school care and extra-curricular activities will be necessary for women’s participation on the labour market.” While looking for “coordination in the provision of health care”, another important priority is “effective European cooperation and solidarity to successfully achieve the long-term integration of refugees into the societies of EU Member States.”
Implementation of the European Child Guarantee and adoption of the European Care Strategy
On March 2021, the European Child Guarantee has been introduced to fight against child poverty and social exclusion in Europe and the Czech Republic engaged to look at its implementation. Minister Marian Jurečka underlined that child poverty is a huge problem. Czech Presidencey will also welcome the proposals of the European Care Strategy in next September. Elderly and persons with disabilities are not forgotten and a conference on disability will be organised also in September.
Support to families facing rising living costs:
Czech Minister for Labour and Social Rights, Marian Jurečka, presented at the European parliament last week the programme of the Presidency. He recognised that rising costs of food affect particularly single-parent households, children, and the elderly. He confirmed the commitment of the Czech Presidency to find a new agreement to face inflation and make sure to secure energy supplies.
“a large part of the burden when we talk about care is supported by the family. We need to make it for them easier to combine work and care, to work from home. We need to coordinate the actions of Member States.”
He also expressed the will of Czech Republic to discuss the impact of demographic challenges and population ageing. Among the solutions, he offered for the European Union to support young people in starting a family: “We need to help people who want to have more children and to have a family life.” He regretted the regular “lack of social public services for families and people with disabilities.” This opinion echoes the desire of a lot of young people in Europe not only to work, but also to start a family, expressed in the priorities of the European Year of Youth 2022.
In a context of war and social uncertainty, it echoes to FAFCE call to recognised the vital role of families, as laid down in the Spring 2022 Board Resolution “Families and family associations are builders of peace.”