We Stand Together(1)

How can your country improve child and family policies? Check out the 2019 Country-specific recommendations

Find out with the 2019 country-specific recommendations issued by the European Commission to national governments this year. The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) collected all the recommendations focusing on childcare, social assistance, reducing inequality and education.

Each year the European Commission assesses national government plans and presents each country with a set of country-specific recommendations (CSRs), along with an overarching Communication. The recommendations focus on what can realistically be achieved over the next 12-18 months.

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is currently a high priority topic on the EU agenda, following the adoption of the Council Recommendation on High Quality ECEC Systems in May 2019. Several Member States received recommendations on ECEC. Member States were advised to make childcare more affordable (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ireland, Slovakia), of a higher quality (Austria, Ireland, Slovakia), and more generally accessible (Czech Republic, Poland).

In addition, the European Commission recommended that four countries improve access to high quality and affordable early childhood education and care in order to support women’s participation in the national labour market (Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland).

Recognising inequality across the EU, the CSRs also include several suggestions for improving access to education, training and employment for disadvantaged groups, including migrants and people with disabilities (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia).

In addition, four countries received recommendations to increase efforts to improve the integration and inclusion of Roma people (Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia).
The European Commission also issued recommendations regarding social assistance to eleven countries (Bulgaria, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Romania). Suggestions included improving access to and quality of various employment and social services and extending or refining income support and taxation systems.

Recommendations regarding education also included suggestions about how countries might improve educational outcomes, the quality of education and training services, and the inclusiveness of provision (Cyprus, Estonia, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia).

A complete list of the 2019 CSRs can be found on the European Commission website.

Background

The recommendations are discussed among the governments in the Council, endorsed by EU leaders at a summit in June and formally adopted by the national finance ministers in July.

The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) collects and disseminates innovative and evidence-based practices that have a positive impact on children and families in EU Member States to enable cross-regional learning.

A series of EPIC policy memos and policy briefs provide short, accessible introductions for policymakers and practitioners about key topics in children’s wellbeing.

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