Who are we?
Founded in 1958 and with 50+ member organisations in 23 European countries, COFACE Families Europe is a network which represents millions of families, volunteers, and professionals. COFACE advocates for strong social policies that take into consideration family needs and guarantee equal opportunities for all families. Our area of work includes social and family policy, education, disability rights, gender equality, children rights, migration, consumer issues as well as the impact of technological developments on families.
COFACE Families Europe works towards a family friendly environment. Enabling all families and their members to benefit from sufficient financial resources, available quality services and adequate time arrangements. All this, in order to live and enjoy their family life in dignity and harmony.
We promote the well-being, health and security of families and their members in a changing society. Our mission is to serve as a trusted entity for family mainstreaming and for the voice and needs of families in the EU and beyond. We achieve this through coordination between the COFACE Member organisations to assess the needs of families at grass-roots levels. To then link these information/needs to the appropriate policy mechanisms at EU level.
COFACE Families Europe is rooted in a set of six core values:
Recognising all family forms
Believing in equality between women and men is a cornerstone for the reconciliation of the family and professional life
Respect of human rights
Seeking to advance the rights of families and their members to a decent quality of life.
COFACE-Families Europe aims to give a voice to all family members as citizens, consumers and workers
COFACE-Families Europe advocates for the shaping of policies to tackle poverty and social exclusion of families and their members.
COFACE-Families Europe promotes intergenerational solidarity between family members.
We are a European Network with action at 3 levels
NATIONAL / REGIONAL / LOCAL ACTIONS
Policy and advocacy
Collection of good practices
European Family Lab
Policy and law shaping
Dialogue with industry
Research & Innovation
COFACE’S structure is organised in such a way as to guarantee real representativity.
The General Assembly is open to the representatives of all member organisations and lays down our general strategy every year.
The Administrative Council is COFACE’s most important decision-making body.
The Executive Bureau carries out the Administrative Council’s decisions.
Administrative Council 2020-2024
Elisabeth Potzinger (AT), Annemie Drieskens (BE), Christophe Cocu (BE), Maria Petkova (BG), Michaela Marksova (CZ), Sven Iversen (DE), Antonia Torrens (EL), Amaia Echevarria (ES), Eija Koivuranta (FI), Marie-Agnès Besnard (FR), Jean-Raphaël Brault-Hurreau (FR), Silvija Stanić (HR), Anna Nagy (HU), Anne Payne (IE), Gaetano Santonocito (IT), Rasa Zemaite (LT), Romain Kraemer (LU), Gonçalo Solla (PT), Peter Grabner (SL), Chantal Bruno (COFACE Disability Platform for the rights of persons with disabilities and their families).
Executive Bureau 2020-2024
Annemie Drieskens (BE)
The Secretariat in Brussels ensures the representation and the smooth functioning of COFACE.
COFACE Members respond at national or regional level to the needs of all families, as well focusing on families in a vulnerable situation: families at risk of poverty, single parent and large families, migrant families, same-sex families, families with a disabled or chronically ill member, families living in areas with limited childcare and health services. They also work on a broad range of issues such as safer internet, parenting, consumer protection and much more.
- Center of Women’s Studies and Policies
- Club of Large Families
- Coordinamento Familiari Assistenti “Clelia”
- Familles de France
- Familles rurales
- Family and Chilcare Trust
- Family Initiative
- Fondation Family carers Pro-XY
- Fonds du Logement Wallon
- Foundation Single Parent families Isadora Duncan
An important role of COFACE Families Europe is to function as a bridge between civil society organisations, research bodies and public authorities. We build on the experience of our member organisations and we listen to the needs of families at grassroots level and channel these to policy and decision makers at EU level, to ensure links between EU and local realities.
We are actively engaged in a number of EU working groups, to which we bring our knowledge about the needs of the families across Europe. These are either projects or networks run by the European Institutions (the European Commission, the European Parliament, the EESC, and the Council of Europe), the United Nations, other civil society networks, corporate networks and research projects.
In addition to consulting our member organisations, we regularly link up to other networks to exchange best practice, learn about other ways of solving societal problems, and grow our network, on which we can rely for our events, projects and advocacy work.
European Commission (advisory bodies)
- Interest group on Solidarity between Generations
- Child Rights Intergroup
- Disability Intergroup
- Interest Group on Carers
- Committees FEMM, EMPL, IMCO
EU Civil Society networks
- EU Work-life balance coalition
- Better Internet for Kids
- EESC – Liaison Group
- EU Alliance for Investing in children
- European coalition to end violence against women and girls
- European Disability Forum (European NGO Group)
- European Expert Group on the transition from institutional to community-based settings
- European Platform on Asylum and Migration
- European Public Health Alliance
- Financial Inclusion Europe
- Right to Energy Coalition
- Population Europe
- Social Platform
- Sustainable Development Goals Watch
- ICT Coalition for the Safer Use of Connected Devices and Online Services by Children and Young People in the EU
- EU Digital Citizenship Working Group
COFACE Disability was founded by COFACE in 1998 to improve the representativeness of people with disabilities and their families. To-date, it brings together more than 20 national associations, all members of COFACE.
COFACE Disability’s mandate is to help persons with disabilities to enjoy their rights throughout the life cycle and in particular within their family context. Its member organisations actively work together to see that a policy for family carers is mainstreamed across all EU policy. COFACE Disability advocates for a central place for families in disability related policy making.
COFACE Disability fights for sufficient, appropriate care provision and services, close-to-home and in-home help services for people with support needs to be made available in all Member States, but it also calls for resources, assistance and provision to be harmonised within the EU.
COFACE Disability believes that the mainstreaming of disability-related policies should be considered a priority on the EU Policy Agenda, so as to avoid the disparities impeding freedom of movement to families with members in need of support needs and subsequent discrimination.
Read our annual reports to find out more about our key activities and how we achieved (policy change/positive change) to build a better society for all families.