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Childcare services in 25 European union member states: The Barcelona targets revisited

Childhood: Changing Contexts

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1419-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-533-8

Publication date: 14 April 2008


Personal services are extremely important in the lives of working parents. This applies in particular to childcare services, as care responsibilities constitute a major obstacle to (full) employment. The importance of measures in this area has long been recognised by the European Council and Union. In March 1992, the European Council passed a recommendation on childcare to the effect that Member States ‘should take and/or progressively encourage initiatives to enable women and men to reconcile their occupational family and upbringing responsibilities arising from the care of children’ (92/241/EEC). Ten years later, at the 2002 Barcelona summit, the aims were formulated more explicitly and targets were set with regard to childcare. Confirming the goal of full employment, the European Council agreed that ‘Member States should remove disincentives to female labour force participation and strive, taking into account the demand for childcare facilities and in line with national patterns of provision, to provide childcare by 2010 to at least 90% of children between 3 years old and the mandatory school age and at least 33% of children under 3 years of age’ (European Council, 2002).


Plantenga, J., Remery, C., Siegel, M. and Sementini, L. (2008), "Childcare services in 25 European union member states: The Barcelona targets revisited", Leira, A. and Saraceno, C. (Ed.) Childhood: Changing Contexts (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 27-53.



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