The Association of Families of Diplomats and Foreign Service Officials (AFD) stressed in a note distributed yesterday that they are at a disadvantage compared to their European neighbours, who enjoy a series of measures that are not available in Spain.
The AFD made this observation at the end of the meeting of the European Union Family Association (EUFASA), which annually brings together associations of spouses, partners and families from 24 EU countries and which was held last Monday and Tuesday in Madrid, on the eve of Spain taking over the rotating Presidency of the European Council.
The note explains that, over the two days, issues such as the problems faced by the so-called ‘Third Culture Kids’, those who spend most of their schooling outside their parents’ country of origin, which can have repercussions on their mental health, and the problems encountered in most countries by couples living abroad, in terms of pensions and health benefits, were addressed.
The conference also addressed the legal challenges of data protection and the problems couples face when divorcing while living abroad, highlighting that the lack of protection for the spouse is very high.
The AFD stresses that the Conference has served to confirm that Foreign Service families in Spain are at a “disadvantage” compared to those in other EU countries.
Specifically, the press release points out that “more than 20 years without a review of schooling allowances, the disappearance of the annual settlement travel allowance and the reduction of social and employment rights for spouses make it increasingly difficult for Spanish civil servants who go abroad to do so with a family”.
The conference was closed by the Director General of the Foreign Service, Hilda Jimenez Nuñez, who praised the work of the spouses’ associations.
The president of the AFD, Chencha García Cutillas, handed over the presidency of EUFASA to Belgium, specifically to Fabio Melchiori, as Brussels will be the capital which, after Madrid, will host the European Presidency in the first half of 2024.