Saving the Euro, Securing Childcare: The Fiscal Compact and Its Gendered Impact in Germany
27 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2014
Date Written: June 25, 2013
The European Union has issued recommendations and benchmarks on the provision of childcare facilities in the member states. In this field Germany is still one of the laggards. In response, federal laws have been adopted in the last few years implementing EU soft law. According to German federal law, children ages one to three years have a legal right to a place in day care. This entitlement becomes effective in August 2013. It has to be implemented by the German Länder and their local authorities, which are operating under tight budgetary constraints; hence, compliance with the law is fiscally not secure. Recently, the negotiations over the Fiscal Compact provided the German Länder with a unique opportunity structure. In accordance with constitutional and legal requirements, the adoption of the Fiscal Compact and ESM needs a two-thirds majority in both legislative chambers. Via their seats in the Bundesrat, the governments of the German Länder employed their bargaining power to receive financial subsidies from the federal government earmarked for childcare services. As a result this will boost the financial capacities of municipalities to meet federal and EU requirements for the provision especially of crèches. This is a remarkable multi-level package deal in favour of better childcare, thus, improving the situation, especially for working mothers in Germany.
Keywords: European Union, Germany, Fiscal Compact, social policy, gender
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