13 Apr 2023

How can Early Childhood Education and Care policies empower citizens?

Recommendations for an effective EU agenda

Francesco Corti / Cinzia Alcidi

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Early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies have great potential to help future adults and parents, especially as the first few years in a child’s life can be key to their development and for their parents’ (especially the mother’s) reentry into the labour market. However, the provision of ECEC services in the EU, their take up and their quality differ vastly across Member States, and thus so are the expected outcomes.

The EU Council’s recent adoption of the Recommendation on the Revision of the Barcelona Targets on early childhood education and care is a clear and welcome step to try and address these ECEC shortfalls. However, more can and should be done. This Policy Brief provides some concrete recommendations on how to bolster and improve ECEC services across the EU so they can benefit and support all children and their families.