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Response to COFACE Open Letter from European Parliament President Sassoli

On the 19th of May COFACE Families Europe issued an open letter to Presidents of the EU Council, Commission and Parliament, calling for mobilization of current and upcoming EU Funds to support families and carers who are suffering the consequences of this COVID-19 pandemic and need immediate support.

The letter called for appropriate forms of gender- and age- sensitive assistance and support for persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers. It urged new actions to mobilise investments and resources to ensure continuity of care and education for children and adults with support needs, through additional funding to these sectors and highlighted that persons with disabilities and their carers need accessible information on available services, training, in-home support, respite services, financial help to buy IT and assistive devices, income support and/or the possibility to take up extensive and adequately paid carer and parental leaves.

The letter called, furthermore, for an assessment of the needs of families and to ensure that all children can access education regardless of their disability, ethnic background and economic condition of their families.

The letter asked for the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII and CRII+), the SURE instrument and the new 2021-2017 EU budget, and Recovery Fund to include specific and explicit guidance to help Member States ensuring such resources are used to support families and informal carers.

COFACE received a first response, on the 6th of June, from the Cabinet of Charles Michel, European Council President, which indicated that he “remains committed to support families, carers and vulnerable groups through the European budget as a key element for the socio-economic recovery.”

A second response arrived on 7th of July, from Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, on behalf of President Ursula von der Leyen mentioning that “support to families, in particular single parent families, and families in vulnerable socio-economic situations (exacerbated by Covid-19), through the delivery of socio-educational services, health and care services, or proximity services, as well as support to people in vulnerable situations, including persons with disabilities, are eligible under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative.”

On the 18th of August, we received a response from the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli. In his response, he mentioned that the European Parliament is firmly committed to the implementation of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They are furthermore following closely the ongoing implementation of the Work-Life Balance Directive.

Sassoli also wrote that through the CRII, the European Social Fund can provide support to healthcare, funding disease prevention measures or measures to ensure access to healthcare for the most vulnerable groups and that the CRII+ has additional measures which include support to the most deprived by changing the rules for the Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived (FEAD).

The response also stresses that the European Parliament urged the Council not to downsize the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and believes that the recovery of the economy must not be to the detriment of social and health policies.

See full letter here.

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