More babies and better quality welfare systems for families are needed in order to sustain the European population, especially in rural and peripheral areas. EU is planning a new reform which allows18 weeks maternity leave. Mums and families are not well enough facilitated in order to deliver a sufficient number of children to an aging Europe. According to a new report from the European Commission  the "Childcare services in EU countries are failing to respond to the needs of parents" .

According to news from the Commission : "There is a direct link between childcare provision and access for parents to paid employment. Across the EU, more than 6 million women aged 25-49 say they are forced into not working, or can only work part-time, because of their family responsibilities. For more than a quarter of them, lack of childcare facilities – or their cost – is the main problem. Access to good quality, affordable childcare operating at hours to suit parents and children is thus key to facilitating women's access to the labor market." Read more at the EU Commission home page

Compared to EU the Norwegian systems provides a 44 weeks paid maternity leave in total for both parents where the father has the right to take 6 of these weeks. Mum can take 3 weeks paid leave before the birth if she prefer that. Sweden has the most extensive system where 390 days are paid at 80% of earning, 90 days are paid at a minimum allowance, in total 18 months.

The new EU "work life balance package" has 2 goals:
1) strengthen women's legal entitlement to family-related leave, namely maternity leave;
2) ensure equal treatment of the self-employed and their assisting spouses