human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Families count on Europe!

Statement on the International Day of Families

Today, on the occasion of International Day of Families, and less than two weeks before the European elections, Caritas Europa calls on the European Parliament candidates to defend family values and the interests of families once (re-)elected. The European Union and its Member States need more family-friendly policies. Family is the basic cell and an essential pillar of any fair society, along with an inclusive labour market and adequate social protection mechanisms.

Producing family-friendly policies that benefit all is a necessity for the future of Europe. In this regard, it is imperative that European leaders deliver on their commitment to the European Pillar of Social Rights and ensure the protection of families.

I’m Manthos and I am 18 years old. I was born on Tinos Island and I live here with my parents. A year ago, I was accepted into the University of Thessaloniki but I can’t attend the classes because my parents are unemployed and my sister, who works in Athens, basically supports us. So, I have to work too and I can’t go and study.
Manthos, assisted by Caritas Hellas, Greece.

Across Europe families are facing poverty or social exclusion in terms of access to housing, education, health care and decent work and they are struggling to ensure a better future for their children. There is an urgent need to put in place policies that address Europe’s ongoing demographic decline and that tackle the increasing levels of poverty and inequalities. Investing in family is investing in our societies.

Investing in families in order to empower them and to promote the social capital they create benefits the entire society. I hope that the newly elected European Parliament will keep family policies high on the political agenda and contribute to ensuring improved conditions for all matters affecting families in Europe.
Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa

Caritas Europa recommends the soon-to-be elected members of the European Parliament contribute to improving the living conditions of the most deprived families in particular, building on and further developing achievements of the previous Parliament, such as the Child Guarantee and the work-life balance directive. In this way they will have made a contribution to ensure that nobody is left behind and all children can enjoy a bright future.


Notes to the editor

  • Caritas family-friendly recommendations were presented in the publication “Social Justice and Equality in Europe – is possible!”, 2016
  • Caritas is currently calling for the future European Parliament to “Leave no one behind”. Read our call and meet the MEPs supporting it at:
  • The United Nations (UN) recognises the family as the basic unit of society. In 1993, the UN General Assembly decided that 15 May of every year should be observed as the International Day of Families. This day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them. The UN selected “Families and inclusive societies” as a central theme for this year’s International Day of Families.