WORKSHOP - Demographic crisis and family policies in Europe

Date: 20 September – From Midday
Language: English

…the public authorities must do everything possible to ensure that families have all those aids - economic, social, educational, political and cultural assistance - that they need in order to face all their responsibilities in a human way.
Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 45


Statistics on demography depict a stark scenario for the EU. Demographic sustainability cannot be effectively tackled on the long run without the indispensible contribution of strong and functional families. However, the family, as an institution, and the concrete families in Europe are put under pressure and sometimes perceiving an insufficient support from national or EU policies.
Freedom of movement of EU citizens and their family members, one of the greatest achievements of the Union, also has a less positive ‘side’ (e.g. creating sometimes distances between family members and reducing the possibilities offered for support of parents and children; children left home with grandparents, while parents work and live in other countries). On the other hand it is necessary to value the family based on marriage as the foundation and basic cell of society.

Objective
In this context, and bearing in mind the centrality of the family in the Church’s teaching, the workshop will strive to encourage a reflection on: the EU’s contribution to the challenges and possible improvements to its actions (e.g. suggestion of policies the next Commission could endorse, including work-life balance policies); respect for the Member States’ role and competences; national experiences that can contribute to the EU debate and policy-making (exchange of best practices with proven results on the fight against the demographic crisis/evidence-based policies); the contribution of Churches and Church-related organisations to the policy-making and its implementation; reinforcement of their role as key actors in this field (support to them, as well as to engaged non-profit organisations and volunteering associations, in planning, programming and implementing initiatives); intergenerational solidarity and the impact on it of the increased mobility of families; showcasing the strong contribution to the common good of a family based on marriage; the impact of different family policies on children’s rights.

Methodology
A panel discussion followed by an open debate.

Chairman: His Excellency Mgr Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg
Speaker: Ms. Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General of Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE, Brussels)
Panelist: Mr. Sebastián Mora Rosado (Secretary General, Caritas Spain)
Mr. John Deighan (Catholic Parliamentary Officer, Scotland)