International Family Policy
The typical family is something very different, depending on which corner of the world we are looking at. Even within the European Union, “family” is therefore not a topic of common politics. Nevertheless, policies addressing various family issues like child protection, family law or the necessary social protection of parents, are set up in all states of the world. Exchange of information, certain harmonization procedures as well as the development of new policies addressing global challenges make international collaboration within the sector a necessity.
Within the European Union, member states agree upon the establishment and implementation of common EU programmes with common aims. These also further the exchange of best-practices and the identification of common challenges. An example is the “European Platform for Investing in Children - EPIC". It develops and implements common strategies to strengthen social cohesion within families. International family policy is becoming more and more important to ensure a high standard of family benefits in all member states as families become more mobile, sometimes having to adapt to rapidly changing labour market situations and job opportunities.
Demographic changes and decreasing birth rates are currently confronting all European (and some Asian) societies. Seen from a family policy perspective, demographic challenges are about the fulfilment of one’s wish to have children, how public policy can encourage the creation of a family and child-friendly society, a society in which young adults have faith in their future, both for themselves and for their children. It is about what we can do to create a society in which children grow up in an environment in which they are secure, in which they have ample opportunities to fulfil their potential and in which the built environment is built for children too. It is also about how we can make parents feel that a life with children is rewarding and not burdensome, a life in which they can count on the support they need and not feel alone with their troubles. These issues are often of central concern when exchanging policy perspectives, best-practices and experience at international meetings.
The Unit for International Youth and Family Policy co-operates with other member states within the European Union, within the Council of Europe and within the United Nations.