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Childcare: Commission calls on Member States to do more
Member States will need to step up their efforts to improve childcare provisions if the EU is to reach its 75% employment rate target by 2020, said the European Commission in a report released today. The progress report finds that just eight countries have met both targets agreed at EU level for availability and accessibility of childcare services (see Annex). The so-called ‘Barcelona targets’, agreed by EU leaders in 2002, say that childcare should be provided for 90% of children between three years old and the mandatory school age, and for 33% of children under three. Meanwhile, a new study also released by the Commission today sheds light on the phenomenon of the ‘gender pension gap’, showing that on average across the EU, women’s pensions are 39% lower than men’s.
“Every parent knows only too well how crucial affordable and accessible childcare is not only for the development of the child but also for working parents. Yet, so far, fewer than 1 in 3 Member States has managed to reach their own childcare targets," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights & Citizenship. “Member States have to buckle down if they want to reach the 75% employment goal they have signed up to. Childcare provision should not be seen as a cost, but as an investment in tomorrow.”