The European Commission has committed to propose a Child Guarantee policy instrument in 2021, most probably in the form of a Council recommendation. This policy instrument will provide further guidance and a coherent policy response, building on the 2013 Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children and the ongoing feasibility study on the European Child Guarantee. The future Child Guarantee will more closely contribute to the implementation of the relevant principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. A number of Member States have received country-specific recommendations (CSRs) on addressing child poverty and improving the well-being of children as part of the European Semester. Country reports of the European Semester have also identified this area as a policy challenge. This will be even more essential in the context of addressing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has plunged many families into vulnerable situations.
To complement the upcoming policy instrument, there are parallel developments in the EU budget negotiations which are relevant to the Child Guarantee. In its updated 2021-2027 EU budget proposal of May 2020, the European Commission proposes under the sectoral legislation to add a new paragraph 3a in Article 7, introducing a thematic concentration of at least 5% of Member States’ ESF+ resources under shared management to support targeted actions and structural reforms to tackling child poverty under the specific objectives set out in points (v) and (vii) to (x) of Article 4(1). This proposal to ringfence a specific portion of the ESF+ for child poverty was put forward by the European Parliament in its position of April 2019, and is supported by COFACE Families Europe as a way to boost implementation of the future EU Child Guarantee (planned for 2021). But as member of the Alliance for Investing in Children we issued a joint statement in March 2020 clarifying that this should not be seen as the only financial resource that will implement the Council Recommendation on the Child Guarantee.
COFACE, together with its members and some key partners, will discuss the Child Guarantee as a tool to tackle family poverty at a seminar in Berlin on 29th September 2020, to take stock and develop a roadmap of actions.