The family has been forgotten for many years and the demographic crisis is an evident “sign” of this, marked by “Europe’s aging population and declining birth rates”, to the point that all European countries have a negative population growth. “Declining birth rates are the result of lack of hope in the future.” In the light of this, the Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE) proposes a Manifesto and a campaign, #VoteForFamily, to “contribute to the promotion of a debate” on the theme of the family.
Fundamental role. FAFCE President Antoine Renard presented the goals of the initiative during a meeting held in Brussels: “We need a new dawn in which the family is considered a political resource.” That’s why in the coming weeks 17 national associations will be engaged in approaching candidates to invite them to sign the “Manifesto for the European elections” as “a commitment to systematically recognise the fundamental role of the family as the basic unit of society”, in all political decisions of the next five-year term. “We see that the world has developed rapidly, there are great issues that presuppose cooperation between peoples (demography, migration, economy, environment) and in all these we must consider that families are resources and not a subject in crisis, they represent a contemporary solution to a world that is experiencing a time of crisis”, Renard told SIR.
Children, common good. “The demographic winter is a silent emergency which concerns all European Countries. Europe needs a demographic Spring. Our children are our primary common good. I commit to raising awareness about the European demographic decline, proposing concrete measures and instruments to change the current trends.” This is the first of the ten-point proposal. “Family mainstreaming” is the second: “The family is the cornerstone of society. The European Union must take European families into account in all its decisions, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity.” This leads to the commitment to recognise the impact of sectoral policies on the family. Promoting the voices of families is the third point: “Family associations are the voice of families, authentically articulating their needs and increasing civic engagement.” There ensues the need “to recognise the contributions and role of family associations in the design and development of European programmes.” Fourth aspect: “an economy at the service of the family” considered that families are “the source of resilience for societies and help relieve distressed public finances.” In this respect there is need for “public policies that recognise the dignity of the family and its fundamental economic role in the common good.” The other points call for “dignified work for every family”, balance between family life and professional life, acknowledging the complementarity of woman and man, “respecting and promoting the institution of marriage”, “respect for human dignity from the beginning to natural end of life.” Last but not least – tenth point – the role of the parents: “father and mother, first and foremost educators of their children.”
Outcome of the campaign. In this Manifesto “we do not talk of rights but of the responsibility” of the family, added Vincenzo Bassi, FAFCE Vice-President, “the intention is for candidates and institutions to recognize this joyful responsibility.” Indeed, “Parliament’s commitment for the family, is a commitment for society”, Bassi pointed out highlighting the importance of family associations in responding to “the loneliness of families in crisis.” “We do not want the family to become an area of European policy competence” and “we don’t want the family to be an item under the responsibility of social policies alone, but of all policies.” “We are not proposing concrete solutions to problems because it is not our responsibility”, speakers pointed out during the meeting of April 2. The outcome of the signature-collection campaign will be released on May 15, International Family Day. We will then know “the names of the candidates that, once elected, will act as interlocutors for policies in support of the family at the European Parliament”