Wednesday, May 16, 2018
On the 16th of May, the International Day for Families was celebrated in the European Parliament. A conference was hosted by MEP Anna Zaborska (EPP). During this conference, a report on the evolution of the family in Europe that was prepared by the Institute of Family Policy was presented by Lola Velarde, Vice President of the Institute. This report highlights that the EU faces a demographic winter with 1 of 6 pregnancies ending in abortion. For the past 35 years, fertility rate in Europe is below the generational replacement level with the main factor for population growth being migration. Additionally, a significant decrease in the number of marriages is being observed. Moreover, Charles de Marcilly from the Robert Schuman Foundation recognized in his contribution that demography is an important topic for the future of Europe but added that there are not enough studies available. Finally, Francois Renard, President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) made a call to politicians not to ask “what families can do for you but what you can do for families”.
ECPM President Branislav Škripek greeted the conference underlining the importance of family for European societies. He noted that families cultivate strong bonds among individuals and provide a haven where “children are socialized, educated and tested”. He added that “No society has managed to improve on this fundamental design. And we should be extremely cautious before trying to do so.” Moreover, he pointed out that Europe has already reached a dangerous demographic situation citing the drop in marriage and birth rates and underlining the fact that: “Europe needs children. They bring hope, prosperity, new technology & inventions, economic growth and much more. And to get these children we need parents - which means family. It is not a coincidence that God’s creation design for humanity began with a family in a garden…. As a European politician I am very concerned about supporting families in the difficult task they face, sticking together and raisi ng the next generation of Europeans. This is a higher priority than those who would seek to re-label families to include relationships which will never bear the fruit a family does.”
Finally, during the discussion that followed, ECPM’s Director for European Affairs Leo van Doesburg raised the problem of left-behind children (mainly in Central and East Europe) because of their parents working and living abroad. He also informed participants of a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe report that is currently being drafted and will investigate this problem.