Friday, December 14, 2007

EU countries condemned for failing to support large families

Briefing: an excellent report.

From CFam: (NEW YORK — C-FAM) At a meeting of the European Parliament this week, the
European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC) warned that the long-term economic well-being of large families is “seriously compromised” by current EU family policies. Stating that “large families are the only key to the demographic future of Europe,” ELFAC argued that the EU’s current policy towards the demographic crisis in Europe ignores the fact that almost a third of European women aged 20-34 years would like to have three or more children
while the birth rates in many EU countries continues to drop alarmingly.

ELFAC argues that the EU’s family focus is on the “average” woman, which
creates inequalities for large families since these policies are based on a
family size of fewer than three children. Large families are treated as only
marginally important for the well-being of the whole society and family life is
devalued to the level of a “hobby.” Instead, the EU focuses on programs such
as promoting reconciliation of work and family life, while ignoring the fact
that policy should also be geared to women who choose to stay at home and care
for their children, which is not recognized as “work” in any of the policy

This situation of deprivation, which stops many women from having more
children, is evident by the scant attention paid to those families who against
all odds decided to have more children according to ELFAC. The group points to
such failures of policy as no value-added tax exemptions on obligatory products
for children (e.g. car seats), very low tax deductions for children, lowering
of child allowances after a child reaches three years of age, and taxation
schemes that penalize married and widowed parents.

Recent data on the ideal family size in Europe show that the fertility rate
of 2.1, which is needed for keeping the population at a replacement level, can
be achieved if more policy effort is spent simply on helping these women
achieve their goal. Currently, not a single EU country has the desired
fertility level and six countries are experiencing dangerously low fertility
rates under 1.4.

Calling for a meaningful change in the social attitudes towards the family,
ELFAC advocates that a policy priority should be first to acknowledge that
close to a third of European women do not seem to have “a right” to have more
than two children, and that helping these women will singlehandedly solve the
demographic problem in Europe. ELFAC’s report ends with a call to the EU and
national government authorities to improve their family policies “so that the
minority of women that want to have three or more children are free to have,
raise and educate them.” It also includes a pledge to provide the EU
institutions of up to five experts specializing in the needs of large families.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen