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.


Civil Society Day 2014 at the European Economic and Social Committee

EPA was present at the annual event organised by the EESC to give an opportunity to citizens and civil society organisations to have their voices heard. The context of this year’s conference was set by three main factors: the recommendations of the European Year of Citizens, the forthcoming European Parliament elections and the first experiences of the European Citizens’ Initiatives, the new tool for citizens to directly influence European institutions. There has been some tension between EU institutions and European NGO’s about real representation of the voice of citizens. Before presenting our readers with the press release published by the EESC let me take this opportunity to ask all our readers who consider themselves European parents to feel free to join the conversation here or ont he social networks to help EPA to influence EU policy in a way you want us to do.


Let’s work together to make sure our children fully benefit from play

Play makes a huge, but often overlooked, contribution to family life and society. Playing brings families together and is a perfect way for parents, grandparents and other adults to spend quality time with children, and also to learn from each other. Play is a basic need for children – just like eating, sleeping or drinking. It allows children to develop skills for life and is the main way children learn about themselves, others and their world. For example, a child at play learns to balance, catch, climb, crawl, jump, walk, run and throw and much more. He or she also learns how to solve problems and communicate and cooperate with others. Playing is not only a birth right of every child, enshrined by the United Nations (UN) in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also an essential part of growing up.


FUG meets the Sami people

FUG (Norway) had a meeting in the northern part of Norway in Kautokeino which is one of the two largest villages of Sami people on 10-11th March.  We met the Sami government and other Sami institutions. FUG represents all parents in Norway and is interested in knowing more about the special challenges faced my certain groups. We experienced that the challenges in most Sami areas were the same as they are for any other Norwegian parent. One of the special challenges is to have enough books and other means of instruction in their own language. There are not enough qualified authors and translators to meet the demands. There is now a special Sami University College in Kautokeino to educate Sami teachers for school and kindergarten. This will help to get enough qualified teachers for the Sami children.


Violence against women is more common in the EU than you would ever think

A new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presents results from the world’s biggest-ever survey on violence against women, revealing the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online. As well as demonstrating the wide prevalence of violence against adult women, the report also details incidents of physical and sexual violence experienced by women in childhood. The survey shows that policy makers need to recognise the extent of violence against women, and ensure that responses meet the needs and rights of all victims of violence against women in practice and not just on paper. 


A parent will do anything that is for the child, even vote at EP elections – message by Martin Schultz

Emily O’Riley, the new European Ombudsman hosted an interactive event on 4th March inviting citizens and European organisations to put items on the EU-wishlist, issues to deal with during the campaign for EU elections and in the next European Parliamentary period. She was joined by José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission and Martin Schultz, the president of the European Parliament, candidate elect for EC presidency by the European Socialists. Reacting to EPA contribution Mr. Schultz agreed on the importance of calling out to parents with policy messages that supports the future of children on family level to raise awareness.