Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

Press Briefing | European Elections: the urgency of a Natality Pact



Press Briefing

Brussels, Square de Meeûs 19, premises of COMECE (ground floor)

2nd of April 2019

14.00 - 15.00 hrs 

Welcome address:

Fr. Olivier Poquillon, OP, General Secretary of COMECE


Antoine Renard, FAFCE President

Vincenzo Bassi, FAFCE Vice-President

RSVP by Monday the 1st of April 

This Press Briefing is intended to explain the current status and the objectives of the ongoing #VoteForFamily Campaign for the European Elections (23-26 May 2019). A Manifesto is being proposed to all the candidates by FAFCE Members in EU Member States. The Manifesto and further information on the campaign are available online at this link

Below you will find the biographies of the speakers


Nicola Speranza, Secretary General

Square de Meeûs, 19

1050 Brussels (BELGIUM)
+32 498 46 02 20
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Short Biographies: 

Antoine Renard
Married and father of three, Antoine Renard has spent his professional career in the mining and railway construction industries. He has held several management positions in SMEs and in international context. He has acquired many associative experiences in the field of youth and family, as well as in NGOs with the European Institutions. He is currently a member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) of the French Republic. He was President of the National Confederation of Catholic Family Associations (CNAFC) from 2007 to 2014 and since 2009 he is the President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE).

Vincenzo Bassi

Married and father of three, Vincenzo Bassi is a lawyer, barrister at the Italian Supreme Court, PhD in Constitutional Law and European Constitutional Law, Adjunct professor in tax law at the LUMSA, in Rome. Board Member of the Italian Forum of Family Associations, he has recently been elected as Vice-President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE). 


CALL FOR APPLICATIONS | 2019 FAFCE Internship program


2019 FAFCE Internship program

Founded in 1997, the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe
has a participatory status with the Council of Europe and is a member of the
Platform for Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It represents
family associations and organizations from 16 European Countries.

EXTENDED application deadline: the 6th of January 2019

Profile of the post:

The intern will support the Secretary General in legislative monitoring and office management; attending and reporting from meetings; researching for the preparation of meetings, background notes and drafts. A financial contribution will be provided.

6 months: February - July 2019.

Academic requirements:

Recent university degree in Political Sciences, International Relations, Public Affairs,
Law or Economics.

Language requirements:

Fluent English and at least another EU language (good command of both the spoken and written components – CEFR Level: C1 – Advanced). German and/or French are an asset.

Personal Commitment:

The successful candidate will share the core values of FAFCE, which are rooted in the
social and moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

A letter of reference is required, which will confirm the adherence to the aforementioned values.

Place of employment:

Brussels, Belgium (FAFCE Office). On occasional basis, travels to Strasbourg or another European city may be requested.

Contact person:

Nicola Speranza (Mr.), Secretary General (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Applications (CV, Motivation Letter and Reference Letter) should be addressed to:

Antoine Renard (Mr.), President (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Press Release | FAFCE Board gathered in Brussels to promote the Family, ecosystem for cultural life

Brussels, 12 November 2018


The Members of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) gathered last week in Brussels, on 6 and 7 November, for their biannual board meeting. In this framework, a high-level conference took place in the European Parliament, hosted by MEPs Anna Záborská (EPP, Slovakia) and Luigi Morgano (S&D, Italy), in cooperation with the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), on the occasion of the European Year for Cultural Heritage, focused on the Family: The Ecosystem of Cultural Life in Europe. This conference took place under the high patronages of the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

The President of the EESC, Luca Jahier, gave an opening speech, stating that "the family is an important cradle for promoting culture. Being aware of it will ensure that the positive elements of our European cultural heritage are transmitted by parents to their children". The President of COMECE, Archbishop of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, intervened bringing his recent experience from the Synod on Young People (Vatican City, 3-28 October 2018), referring to the the dreams of young people to form a family and their fears about all the challenges they have to face. The Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, Gabriella Gambino, brought a message from the Prefect, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, and had an inspiring intervention on the Family, as Place of Cultural Transmission. "One of the biggest challenges we face today," she said, "is precisely that of explaining to our children that a family based on a faithful and indissoluble marriage is really our only chance to build a society founded on truth and the common good". Franco Nembrini, author and educator, gave his personal and rich experience of his contacts with young people, underlining the treasure of the common European Christian heritage in building the future. Fr. Olivier Poquillon, OP, COMECE Secretary General, contributed with his final remarks underling his hope that the family could be at the heart of the debates so that the human person can be at the heart of our societies. The Vice-President of FAFCE, Algirdas Petronis, referred to the commitment of Catholic Family Associations for promoting the primary role of parents as the first educators of their children and for asking family friendly policies all over Europe. In this framework he announced the launch of an European Manifesto which will be proposed to all the candidates to the next European Elections (23-26 May 2019). Antoine Renard, President of FAFCE, closed the conference, underling that Europe needs trust, starting to promote a new cultural life from the most basic unit of society: "Politicians need to trust families and the families will trust them". 

The Board meeting of FAFCE followed that inspiring conference, to discuss about the strategy and the future actions of the Federation.

For the first time a member from Slovenia participated in the Board : the Iskreni Institute. The Italian Federation of Kindergardens (Federazione Italiana delle Scuole Materne - FISM) was accepted as a full member of FAFCE. Invited guests also attended this Board meeting from Latvia, The Netherlands and Ukraine.

The FAFCE Board elected the new Bureau for the upcoming three years:

- Antoine Renard (Confédération nationale des Associations familiales catholiques - CNAFC, France) was confirmed as President.

Cornel Barbut (Vladimir Ghika Catholic Family Association, Romania) and Vincenzo Bassi (Forum delle Associazioni familiari, Italy) were elected as Vice-Presidents.

Alfred Trendl (Katholischer Familienverband Österreich - KFÖ, Austria), was elected as Treasurer.

FAFCE will now focus on the upcoming European elections, asking the candidates to commit themselves to put the dignity of the family at the centre of European public policies.


HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE | The Family: ecosystem for cultural life in Europe





The Family: ecosystem for cultural life in Europe

Room A3E-2

European Parliament

Rue Wiertz 60, Brussels

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

9h00 - 11h00

Hosted by 

MEP Anna ZABORSKA, EPP, Slovakia, Chair of the Family Intergroup

MEP Luigi MORGANO, S&D, Italy, CULT Committee Member


Click here to register



9:00 – 9:10

Welcoming addresses
Anna Záborská, MEP, EPP, Slovakia, Chair of the Intergroup for Family-friendly policies
Luigi Morgano, MEP, S&D, Italy, Member of the CULT Committee

9:10 – 9:40

Opening addresses
Luca Jahier, EESC President

Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of COMECE
Antoine Renard, President of FAFCE

9:40 – 10:00

The Family as Place of Cultural Transmission
Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

10:00 - 10:20
The Parents and the Responsibility of Transmission
Franco Nembrini, Author and educator

10:20 – 10:45
Exchange of views

10:45 – 11:00
Final remarks
Fr. Olivier Poquillon, OP, COMECE Secretary General

Algirdas Petronis, Vice-President of FAFCE


Languages: English, French and Italian


Click here to register



Promoting the Gospel of the family : the role of family associations today

DUBLIN 2018 Antoine Renard with a familyDublin, August 24th 2018

Intervention of FAFCE President, Antoine Renard, at the pastoral Congress of the World Meeting of Families, Dublin, 22-26 August 2018

 “It is not good for man to be alone”.

It is also not good for families to be alone; “the family cannot remain isolated like a monad”, said to us the Holy Father in June 2017, “they need to dialogue and to encounter others, in order to build a unity that is not uniformity and that can generate progress and advance the common good”. Family associations offer a framework of assistance and actions to respond to this need, with at their core the strength of the gospel message.


Since at times more than a century, family associations were founded first in order to organise mutual assistance between neighbouring families.

In France, in the 20s, families from the countryside pooled resources to buy a washing machine, which was shared from one family to the next during the week; later people came together to watch television together during family evenings.

By responding to concrete needs, they facilitate mutual exchange, dialog, sharing; they respond to their call: “God has given the family the job of “domesticating” the world”; and they favour a “healthy injection of family spirit” (Amoris Laetitia -  AL 183).

This grass roots knowledge through meeting people leads to responding in a natural way to new and varying needs according to the places and times, often before they are cared for by national solidarities.

In Poland, family associations help large families find housing.

In Austria, they use their network to help in welcoming families of migrants.

In the Czech Republic, they come to help young mothers in distress, parents of handicapped children, etc.

Since their beginnings, they have been interested in educational matters, as school is not able to do everything; too often parents feel distressed realizing the scale of the task; yet, the Pope recalls to us that “the overall education of children is a ‘most serious duty’ and at the same time a ‘primary right’ of parents. This is not just a task or a burden, but an essential and inalienable right that parents are called to defend and of which no one may claim to deprive them” (AL 84).

Today, faced with an urgent necessity, many of them, in Germany, in Poland, in France, in Italy propose programs to help with sexual education. “Where sex education is concerned, much is at stake.” (AL 284). Here, family associations come into play, in defence of this fundamental right, to always remember that the one who educates always does so in the name of and at the request of the parents.


With their knowledge of the field, the concrete needs of the families of which it is composed, and those with whom it acts, the local family association is able to intervene with the local authorities to propose initiatives facilitating daily life (housing, transport, work, education, health, environment, leisure ...)

By grouping themselves up to the scale of a country, they become an interlocutor of the national political authorities who direct and lead the action of the State, which, the Pope emphasizes, “the State has the responsibility to pass laws and create work to ensure the future of young people and help them realize their plan of forming a family” (AL 43).

Saint John Paul II had warned: “families should grow in awareness of being "protagonists" of what is known as "family politics" and assume responsibility for transforming society; otherwise families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference” (Familiaris Consortio 44).

In this respect, France is a special place, whose effectiveness in family policy (birth, work of women) is often cited, deserves to be extended: since 1945 the Union of Family Associations has been an institutional partner of the State and a major craftsman of this policy, compulsorily consulted by the government and legislature on any measure affecting the lives of families... This has not, alas, prevented everything bad or allowed everything good.


They are not intended to address only Catholic families. Their services are offered to all: here lies an evangelizing force. Indeed, the reference to the Catholic faith is expressed through their political action (not pastoral) and their proposals are based on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church; it is a rich, comprehensive and coherent source, generally respected as such, including by those who do not adhere to it. This makes it possible to come very quickly to concrete proposals. The associations are only humble practitioners, who find it advantageous not to hide their Christian identity, proud to know this teaching "based on the dignity of the person" as we were told by Pope Francis last year: "Man and woman He created him, in His image and likeness": when God creates the woman we could say that he creates the family, because both, man and woman, together, are the image of God ... In this sense, the family is evangelizing in itself, and family associations are not ecclesial movements or courses of formation in the faith. They only facilitate, precede and follow the work of evangelization that is the duty of every Christian ("Woe to me if I do not announce the Gospel!", Says Saint Paul in 1 Cor 9,16), and this fire of bringing to all the love of God motivates and provides a solid foundation for those who become part of  a Catholic Family Association.

Founded more than 20 years ago, FAFCE regularly brings together the leaders of the Catholic Family Associations of 16 EU countries (a few are lacking...!) to share, educate and prepare useful interventions directed towards the European Institutions (Council of Europe, Parliament and Commission of the EU), in particular to cooperate on the 4 ubiquitous crises across our continent: demography, migrations, work and education.

She has limited means; we often say that if every affected family in Europe gave us one euro a year, we would have more than enough. We could then carry this experience of family associations further in Europe and beyond, showing that “families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity”(AL 7). With regards to the numerous lobbying groups working in Europe, in Brussels, we have the strength that comes from the Gospel, the Good News, and that gives meaning to our work. Behind us, on our shoulders, when we are working almost alone in Brussels, far from the day-to-day life of the families that we represent, there is people who believe. This people have faith in the true God, a God who, in coming to earth, did not choose to come as a prince or a hero, but chose to come as a child in a family.


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