The Party of European Socialists has been highlighting childcare issues over the last week, encouraging its member parties and PES Activists to get together, discuss the issue, and highlight where there are problems. They have also published some interesting research about the matter, looking at how the availability of childcare in the 0-3 and 3-school age brackets varies between countries.
In essence there are 2 things that strike me as important here. Firstly, access to (free/affordable) childcare is vital to help deal with Europe’s demographic challenges. Countries like Sweden and Denmark – where the states offer effective childcare provision – have allowed families to combine having children with working. As a result more kids are born. This stands in contrast to other parts of Europe (notably Germany, Italy) where birth rates have reduced and the reasons include a lack of childcare provision.
The second issue of importance is that the PES can now manage to get together a week of action about a particular issue and get its member parties involved. OK, Labour was not involved as far as I am aware (I’m partly to blame as LME-LSE didn’t do anything), but choosing to highlight certain issues across the continent is valuable and important. Developments like this, PES Activists etc. really show that the PES is making quite some progress in comparison to a couple of years previously.