Ahead of his appearance at the European Parliament tomorrow, MEPs from four different political groups have urged Emmanuel Macron to push in favour of  egislative proposal that would improve parental leave standards across Europe.

Members from GUE/NGL, S&D, Greens/EFA and ALDE have joined forces to call on the French President to unblock the Work Life Balance Directive at the EU Council – one of the key elements in the European Pillar of Social Rights. By hindering the Directive, Macron could very well torpedo the continuity of the entire political initiative – a key priority for the European Commission during this legislature.

Concerning care duties for men and women, GUE/NGL’s Tania González Peñas has this message for Macron:

“Work-life balance is crucial in addressing gender inequality and discrimination in employment. A real social Europe is at stake and we need to push ahead for decent pay equal leaves for parents.”

“The duties and rights for men must be the same as women in care duties.  Macron speaks of a social Europe but he is blocking what is the going to be the most important factor for men taking up parental leaves: the level of payment. This contradiction is happening in all conservative governments in the EU so together, we need to act to change the course of events” says González, Shadow Rapporteur in the Employment Committee for this Directive.

Belgian MEP Marie Arena says that more action – not words – are needed from the likes of France:

“In Europe, women still earn 16.3% less than men!”

“In addition to this pay inequality, studies reveal growing statistics concerning malaise at work and the imbalance between the private and professional lives suffered by citizens every day. The Work Life Balance Directive proposes measures to redress the inequality between men and women at work and to meet the urgent need for the well-being of all in Europe!”

“It's urgent that a country like France – which boasts about wanting to improve equality between men and women, – moves from words to deeds and to support this directive,” Arena said.

For the Greens/EFA’s Ernest Urtasun, the role of men as carers and paternity leave must be redressed:

“This proposal would, for the first time, put in place an EU-wide paternity leave provision.”

“It is the time that the EU fully encourages the role of man as carers. Although it is only the first step, Europe has to advance and implement measures to promote the equal share of care responsibilities between women and men. It is only when men assume the same level of responsibilities as women in caring for the children, dependents or elderly then will we be able to start building a truly equal society.”

“By not supporting this important file, President Macron is sending out the wrong message about the EU and its commitment to gender equality,” Urtasun concluded.

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