WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — Young people in Europe need political support to start families in countries with aging populations, a French Catholic campaigner said.
While “young people want to form lasting relationships and have children,” they “don’t feel safe” to start families, said Antoine Renard, president of the Brussels-based Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe.
“Unless something is done rapidly, Europe risks a total demographic collapse,” Renard said in an April 19 interview with Catholic News Service after the federation called on European Union governments to “put the family at the center of national policies.”
Young people are “often discouraged by inadequate and individualistic policies and cultures which are hostile to the family,” the federation said in an April 13 statement at the end of its spring meeting in Vienna.
The European Union had 1.58 live births per woman in 2015, according to official statistics. A total fertility rate of around 2.1 live births per woman is considered the replacement level in developed countries, Eurostat said on its website.
The federation called on Europe’s leaders to “raise awareness about the demographic winter and the urgency of acting” with international initiatives.
Member states of the European Union should “implement a policy that recognizes the unique, fundamental and irreplaceable position of the family in society,” the statement said.
Ministers in European governments show “absolutely no reaction” when federation members raise demographic issues at meetings, Renard said, noting that he had been laughed at and assured that Europe’s problem of population decline would be resolved through immigration.
“Of course we need immigration” but “unless we continue raising children and provide incentives for young people to have them, our own families will simply disappear,” he said.
Europe’s “demographic winter” needs urgent action “for the well-being of aged people, for the rights of our youth,” and “for the future of our children,” the federation’s statement said.
Its campaign will be taken to the Aug. 21-26 World Meeting of Families that Pope Francis is scheduled to attend in Dublin, Renard said.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: