Deputy Minister presents strategy on child education and care at EU Conference

Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Marilena Evangelou has said that early childhood education, care and access to affordable, high-quality and inclusive child care and education services are the government’s high political priority.

Evangelou participated in an EU High Level Conference on the European Pillar of Social Rights on 15 and 16 April, in the Belgian city of La Hulpe, within the framework of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The Deputy Minister presented the Cyprus Strategy for child education and care, based on a comprehensive two-year study to be completed within 2024, with the assistance of UNICEF and the European Commission, as well as the new Child Care Services Grant Plan, co-financed by the European Social Fund.

An announcement by the Deputy Ministry says that the Scheme offers immediate support to families through the subsidy of childcare services for children up to 4 years old, covering 80% of tuition fees and significant increases for children under 3 years old and for full-time schooling with a significant increase in the allowance per child, for all vulnerable children.

Evangelou pointed out that Cyprus remains committed to the extension of these national programs and expressed her satisfaction for EU’s role and the tools it offers to member states.

In the context of the Conference, the Deputy Minister held bilateral meetings with her Maltese and Hungarian counterparts to discuss social policy issues, with an emphasis on the care of pre-school children, the integration of people with disabilities into society and the integration of benefit recipients into the market work.

The Conference was attended by representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, Ministers of Employment and Social Policy of Member States, social partners, representatives of civil society and academics.

The aim of the conference was to discuss the future social agenda of the European Union, which will recognize the challenges in the fields of employment and social policy, and set policy priorities for the next five years. The European Pillar of Social Rights is the key tool in the design of the EU's social agenda.

During the Conference, the inter-institutional Declaration of La Hulpe was signed, which aims to prepare the social agenda of the EU for 2024-2029.

(Source: CNA)

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