EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about maternity leave was published by EurActiv on 24th February 2010.

The European Parliament is pushing hard to bring in longer EU minimum standards for maternity leave. But MEPs are likely to face stiff resistance from some EU member states, particularly the UK.

There was a feeling of déjà vu in the Parliament yesterday (23 February) as the Womens’ Rights Committee backed a report by Portuguese Socialist MEP Edite Estrela to increase minimum compulsory EU maternity leave to 20 weeks.

In June last year, a coalition of centre-right and liberal MEPs had already rejected Estrela’s plans in a June vote in Strasbourg.

Estrela does not believe history will repeat itself, however, and claimed she was “confident” Parliament would back her plans this time around.

Responding to a question from EurActiv following yesterday’s vote, she argued that last year’s rejection was for political reasons, as centre-right MEPs did not want to touch upon this sensitive issue ahead of June’s European elections.

“A new parliament means a new situation,” she said, adding that “we are legislating for the future” with this progressive proposal.

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