Press release by the European Parents’ Association (EPA)
for the Launch of the COFACE publication
’Helping you to make your choice 2014 European Parliament Election’
Martin Schultz, the President of the European Parliament – answering our question at a recent event - highlighted the fact that a parent’s strongest drive is to act for her/his child. Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council is urging a ‘confidence pact’ in his introduction to the publication containing the policy items of the four biggest political groups of the present European Parliament. The Board of EPA wishes to take this opportunity to emphasise that this is an instance for all parents in the EU to act for their children, namely learn about the opinion of different political groups and go to vote at the European Parliament Elections this May on the party that represents the interest of you, your family and especially your children best. The only way to be part of this confidence pact is to vote and to do it responsibly. EPA - as usual - has been undertaking the role to link parents to the different political groups and represent the diverse interests of European parents.
If you ask the question in the booklet ‘What will change for me if I vote at the European Elections?’ the answer is very simple: every vote counts and once you cast your vote you have the right to ask your MEP what she/he and her/his political group had done about the issues concerning parents and their families.
It is a great starting point to read the COFACE publication. The first part of the booklet contains a very short introduction to the European Elections and the political groups. They asked the four largest political groups of the present EP, the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), the Greens and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) questions in seven fields that concern families most and have an element that is the competence of the EU. There are areas where there seems to be a European consensus, some issues are only tackled by certain parties. Some questions remained unanswered by some or even all political groups. Thus it is very important to read the answers and take local opportunities to ask further questions. The Board of EPA encourages national and local parents’ associations to translate the answers into their own languages to support local parents in their decision. There are still two month to go.
The questions raised by COFACE are very important for EPA and its member association. As always, the starting point of EPA’s opinion are the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It is a parent’s right and duty to raise his/her child, to help and guide the child in exercising his/her basic rights that include the right to a happy childhood, health, education and safety. According to the above mentioned basic legal documents it is the task of the governments – on all levels from local councils to the EU – to support parents in these rights and duties by suitable legal frameworks, financial support and creating a family-friendly environment. Thus we especially call the attention of parents to these areas.
Education is dealt with rather superficially by the political parties, especially because at the moment school education is national competence. However, there are more and more areas related to education that are tackled by the EU especially since education and training strategies are an essential part of the growth strategy EU2020. EPA has a very strong opinion on the role parents, the primary educators of their children in the EU’s succeeding in reaching the strategic goals of decreasing early school leaving and youth unemployment, increasing the number of young people finishing tertiary education as well as creating a multilingual, multicultural and strong Europe, or supporting their children and each other to become active and responsible European citizens.
This publication is best read through the critical eyes of responsible parents and grandparents. To make the responsible decision of going to vote and choosing a candidate or list you have to be aware of what you can expect – and later, during the 5 years’ period of the European Parliament to be elected in May 2014 demand – from them that concerns the present and the future of your children and your family in a wider context.
The Board of EPA wishes to take this opportunity to thank its partner, COFACE for asking the questions and providing families with the answers of the parties. In Alliance 2014 EPA and COFACE are working together on a number of topics covered in this booklet and we are all determined to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the discussion as well as to find allies in the future European Parliament.
The COFACE booklet can be downloaded in pdf here