Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

International “Day of Families”

Berlin, May 15th, 2009

At the occasion of the International "Day of Families" the President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) declared in a euro-political statement of principle that two issues are be of central interest for a better acceptance of Europe from the point of view of families: First of all the European Economic Community will have to turn also into a Social Community and secondly the European Union is in need of more legal capacity. Therefore Mrs Bussmann welcomes the ratification of the Lisbon-treaty by the Czech Senate and hopes for a successful referendum in Ireland.

Although also in the future there will not exist an explicit European competence for family policies, already today European decisions influence in an indirect way considerably the living conditions of families. "For a well-balanced family life, families need a good combination of financial means, time and family services". Therefore, also in the legislative period to come the EU-working hour guidelines, the EU-maternity protection-guidelines as well as the EU-Vat-guideline will be important family political issues. If the Catholic Family Associations in Europe stand up for a Europe wide protection of Sundays they fight for an important cultural heritage to safeguard free time to be shared by children and parents at least once a week. And if they call for a reduced VAT on children's products they fight for the financial discharge of families." In the course of an increasing European integration it is becoming more and more important to better separate the diverse political levels within the sense of the principle of subsidiary. "It cannot be accepted that efforts for European wide minimum standards for maternal protection question already existing comprehensive national regulations", Mrs Bussmann said. On the other hand also regional and municipal responsibilities for family services (as there are child care facilities, assistance for the elderly etc.) have to be focussed, and this particularly with a view to the strengthening of close, family supporting services.

However, the Europeanizing of family policies embraces more than mere social aspects: rather social political issues are concerned. Family Associations fight against the tendency to consider families only from a functional point of view and to comprehend the conciliation of work and family life as the very benchmark in times of demographic debates. Far too fast sight is lost that families ought to be supported as cross generational communities in solidarity. "We appreciate that the Fundamental Rights are deeply respected and protected in Europe. However, we draw attention to the fact that some endeavours to diminish facts of discrimination might have an anti-family effect. It rather has to be striven for to consider families as Europe's wealth and to make Europe sustainable against all short-term interest pragmatism." After all the family based on marriage presents the true value that stands for the durable stability of the social consensus bearing in mind the pluralism of ways of life today. Beyond all solemn speeches there is a very concrete need for action: "Parliamentary initiatives that will succeed in struggling poverty and social exclusion in order to diminish the poverty of children and families will be the proof for credible European policies".

Stefan Nacke
General Secretary of FAFCE

Contact us