“For a Strong and Equal Europe” – Series of events on the European Pillar of Social Rights Action PlanThe Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and the Observatory are organizing a joint series of events on the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan with a special focus on sociopolitical aspects in Germany and Europe.
The European Pillar of Social Rights and its 20 principles are a guiding line for a strong social Europe that is fair and inclusive and offer opportunities for all. In March 2021, the European Commission adopted the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan to translate the general principles into concrete action. Turning the pillar’s principles into reality requires a commitment by EU institutions, national, regional and local governments, social partners and civil society.
The series of events is aimed at European and national political and civil society stakeholders. The goal is to exchange knowledge and experiences on the various projects under the Action Plan and on the different approaches by the Member States.
The virtual kick-off event took place on 22 February 2022 and featured Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, and former Federal Minister Anne Spiegel.
An expert meeting on 27 September 2022 focused on action-building to defend and strengthen gender and LGBTIQ* equality through effective international cooperation. The Parliamentary State Secretary and Federal Government Commissioner for the Acceptance of Sexual and Gender Diversity Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Sven Lehmann, and the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Germany, Dr Jörg Wojahn, opened the event. Damjan Denkovski, Deputy Executive Director at Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, gave the keynote. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together experts from different European governments, international organisations and stakeholders working on gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTIQ* rights and socio-political issues to exchange views on concrete ways to develop a coordinated response to defend and strengthen gender and LGBTIQ* equality.
The third expert meeting on 16 November 2022 dealt with the European Child Guarantee as a political instrument to combat child poverty in the European Union. The Parliamentary State Secretary and National Child Guarantee Coordinator at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Ekin Deligöz, opened the event. This was followed by an exchange of knowledge and experiences with representatives from Germany, Ireland, the Czech Republic, UNICEF, the European Commission and Eurochild.
On their website, the BMFSFJ published the latest info on the kick-off event on 22 February 2022, on the expert meeting on 27 September 2022 and on the expert meeting on 16 November 2022 (in German).
Latest Info: "Combating child poverty in the European Union"2022This latest info was published on the BMFSFJ website as a follow-up to the European expert event on combatting child poverty in the European Union through the implementation of a Europe-wide Child Guarantee on 16 November 2022 (in German).
Latest info: "Strengthening (Queer) Equality at European Level"2022This latest info was published on the BMFSFJ website as a follow-up to the European expert event on strengthening and defending gender and LGBTIQ* equality through effective international cooperation on 27 September 2022 (in German).
Latest info: "Strengthen the European Pillar of Social Rights"2022On 22 February 2002, this latest info was published on the BMFSFJ website on the occasion of the start of the series of events on the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan (in German).
Digital event on LGBTI rights across Europe, 5 May 2021
“Towards the full recognition of LGBTI rights across Europe – Strategic policy measures to implement the 2010 SOGI Recommendation”
Under the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe 2020/21, the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth together with the Observatory hosted a digital event focusing on the Council of Europe’s 2010 Recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity (CM/Rec(2010)5) on 5 May 2021.
Despite universal human rights standards, acceptance and respect for the rights and needs of LGBTI persons vary considerably among the member states of the European Union and those of the Council of Europe. The event raised awareness for the situation of LGBTI rights across Europe against the backdrop of political backsliding and rising discrimination against LGBTI persons. Furthermore, it was discussed how concrete steps and strategic policy measures such as national action plans contribute to strengthening LGBTIQ rights at the national level and which role institutions such as the Council of Europe and the European Union can and are playing in that regard.
Intersectionality and LGBTI Policies in Europe: International Conference on 18 and 19 November 2020
Within the framework of the German Presidencies of the Council of the European Union and the Council of Europe in 2020/21, the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth together with the Observatory organised an international conference on the subject of "Intersectionality and LGBTI Policies in Europe – Lived Realities of Lesbian* Women and the Recognition of Rainbow Families" on 18 and 19 November 2020.
Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality, used the occasion to present the new EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy (Factsheet). During the next high-level panel, she discussed the new strategy with the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Franziska Giffey, and Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić. Background information on the strategy can be found in the current edition of the Observatory's newsletter (May 2020).
The conference drew attention to the intersectional – overlapping and mutually reinforcing –aspects of discrimination lesbian* women experience in their daily lives and the specific needs of rainbow families. A number of discussion formats raised awareness for different aspects of lesbian* visibility regarding intersectionality, research, the asylum process, civil society participation and capacity building.
Latest Info (Ministry, in German), 18 November 2020
Press Release (Ministry, in German), 19 November 2020
Facebook Livestream of the High-Level Panel (Facebook page of the Ministry)
Families in Europe during and after the COVID-19 pandemic: International conference on 24 November 2020Within the framework of the German Presidencies of the Council of the European Union and the Council of Europe in 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth together with the Observatory was organising an international conference on the subject of "Overcoming COVID-19 — jointly developing prospects for strong families" on November 24, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown from the very beginning that families are the central pillar of our society. For a large number of families, however, this time had and still has a strong economic and psychological impact. The different political measures to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families with children in Europe show that EU member states are responding with different approaches to the same challenges.
The focus of the conference was the question of how families can be empowered during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. Together with representatives of the European Commission and the EU Member States as well as with experts from politics, science and civil society, society, measures of the European member states to strengthen families were discussed in various panels. The focus was on the financial stability of families, equal educational opportunities for all children, better work-life balance and the fight against domestic violence - during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facebook Livestream (Facebook page of the Ministry, in German)
Tackling Child Poverty and Social Exclusion: European Expert Meeting on 27 May 2019
Poverty during childhood is often reflected in poorer opportunities far beyond childhood and adolescence. Against this background, the Observatory and the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth organised the European Expert Meeting “Tackling Child Poverty and Social Exclusion – Approaches and Experiences of State Support for Children in Europe” in Berlin on 27 May 2019.
In addition to the current political initiatives at EU level, state benefits for children and families in Germany, Finland, Flanders, Austria, Sweden and Cyprus were discussed. The focus was not only on cash benefits but also on non-financial benefits in the form of services, especially childcare, as well as counselling and support services for families. The focus was on the question of how the access to these state benefits can be simplified in order to reach all families and their children.Following the European Expert Meeting, the Observatory published the newsletter “Growing up with good opportunities”.
Series of European Expert Meetings on Reconciliation Policy (2017/18)Against the background of the work-life balance package of the European Commission, the Observatory has together with the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) organised a series of European Expert Meetings. The aim was to support the Europe-wide exchange of ideas and good practices concerning different aspects and issues of reconciliation policy.
The focus of the first two Expert Meetings was on leave options for employed persons with care responsibilities. The third Expert Meeting focused on necessary infrastructure in the field of childcare. With the fourth and final Expert Meeting of the series, a change of perspective took place. In this event, the question of how paid and care work can be divided fairly between the sexes was at the core of the discussions.
Detailed documentation is available for each expert meeting:
Towards an Equal Partnership in Families - How the European States Promote Father Involvement in Family Work. Documentation of the European Expert Meeting on 29 and 30 May 2017 in Berlin.
Reconciling Work and Care – Experiences from Different European Countries. Documentation of the European Expert Meeting on 4 and 5 September 2017 in Berlin.
How Childcare Services contribute to the Reconciliation of Family and Work. Supporting Disadvantaged Families. Documentation of the European Expert Meeting on 17 and 18 May 2018 in Berlin.
Farewell to the supplementary-earner model – but where to now? Aims and requirements of reconciliation policy from a gender equality perspective. Documentation of the European Expert Meeting on 1 and 2 October 2018 in Berlin.