European Parliament Committee backs Child Guarantee in European Social Fund Plus
With a vote on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) for the period 2021-27 on 3 December, the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) voted. to introduce the Child Guarantee with a dedicated budget of €5.9 billion.
The adopted changes to the draft regulation state that Member States will have to allocate at least 5% of ESF+ resources to the European Child Guarantee scheme to contribute to children’s equal access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition – with the aim to tackle child poverty and social exclusion. These measures will need to be in line with the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children. For the first time the social inclusion of children and the reduction of child poverty feature among the specific objectives of the European Social Fund. The ESF+ will also support the transition from institutional care to family and community-based care.
Other important results include:
- Increase of the minimum amount that Member States have to spend on social inclusion within the ESF+. Instead of the proposed 25%, at least 27% of ESF+ resources will have to be spent on addressing social inclusion, with a further 3% for social inclusion of the most deprived/material deprivation.
- Improving access to early childhood education, and improving the inclusiveness of education, have been included as specific objectives.
- Member States will be asked to allocate at least 2% of resources for the capacity building of social partners and civil society organisations at EU and national level.
- Children have been included in the definition of “most deprived persons”.
- The following additions were made to the list of those who will be considered beneficiaries of the fund: children people living in regions of high poverty rates; and people transitioning from institutional to family and community based care.
Eurochild has been working closely with the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on this file and welcomes the vote results.
The text of this resolution will be considered in the European Parliament plenary session in January 2019, giving Parliament the mandate to start negotiations with the EU Council of Ministers.
UPDATE: 16 January 2019: European Parliament plenary adopted the ESF+ report of EMP Lope Fontagné which calls for increased investments in social inclusion, tackling child poverty and investing in children. Eurochild now looks toward the European Council to support this report in its negotiations on the future EU Budget.
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Eurochild is part of the consortium that is carrying out a feasibility study of a Child Guarantee for vulnerable children together with a team of researchers and experts.
Eurochild coordinates the ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’ campaign to end institutional care. You can read detailed facts on situation of children in alternative care and recommendations to address this challenge in the future EU budget.