Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Policy Review of 'Family and Welfare' Research

Funded under: FP6-CITIZENS


Since the European Economic Community was established as a Common Market, social welfare was relevant only insofar as it contributed to the achievement of economic goals. Sustained economic growth was expected to result in social development, with social harmonisation as an end product.
Consequently, national governments were left largely to determine how their social protection systems are framed, financed and organised, and how policy measures are implemented and delivered. Family policy has remained a contentious area both within and between countries. Views about the legitimacy of government intervention in family affairs and about policy objectives and instruments are divided along ideological lines to the extent that consensus is difficult to achieve. In accordance with the subsidiarity principle, European institutions have had no formal competence to act in the area of family affairs, except with regard to the dependants of migrant workers under the EEC Treaty provisions for freedom of movement. Although policy actors at European level continue to be reluctant to address issues concerned with family life directly, the theme of family and welfare cuts across other policy areas (social ex/inclusion, employability, social cohesion, pensions, gender equality, migration).
Even though family life and relationships may not be the target of specific EU policies, many of the measures implemented in other areas do have an impact on family well-being. This report reviews the main issues that are relevant to policy in the field of family and welfare. It summarises key findings from the research carried out to date in EU member states and at European level, and it seeks to identify areas where further research is needed to inform policy.

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