National family policies will strengthen solidarity between generations by encouraging a better response to the needs of families as regards childcare and dependency care and a more balanced distribution of family and domestic responsibilities. The anticipated outcome is a better quality of life for all, as well as a situation which is more conducive to the fulfilment of family plans. The new orientations for family policies will also contribute to growth and employment, notably by facilitating female labour force participation.

Through the emphasis placed on equality between men and women and equal opportunities more generally, the Lisbon Strategy constitutes a suitable framework of support for the development of national family policies. However, the main responsibilities lie with the Member States.

Through the European Alliance for Families, whose exchange arrangements and research project are wholeheartedly encouraged by the Commission, this modernisation is becoming an issue of common interest. 18 Reports on activities financed by the European Social Fund relating to the balancing of professional life and family life in order to promote gender equality, particularly in the context of the transnational programme EQUAL, can be consulted on the European Commissions website.

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