Brussels, 28th March 2024

Dear Friends,

This week we celebrate with our families the mysteries of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. With this newsletter, we wish you a peaceful Easter and also reflect on some of the many projects we have been working on through the year so far.

To begin with news of joy, we learned of the successful campaigns in Ireland in their two referendum votes. Held on International Women’s Day on 8th March, these votes were intended to change the constitutional status of the family and the role of women. On the matter of the family, the Irish government proposed that the wording on marriage should be changed to “durable relationships”. Regarding the latter, the proposed change would’ve removed the acknowledgement that a woman’s place in the home offered a common good that couldn’t be provided by the state. Additionally, the proposed change would’ve deleted the right for mothers to not be obligated to work if it would impact their family duties.

The outcome was a David and Goliath story. The Irish government and NGOs poured their resources into the referendum votes, but it was the campaigning of organisations like our member Family Solidarity that defeated the proposals. Common sense returned, as 68 percent of voters chose to promote the family and 74 percent voted to protect freedom for mothers. We congratulate Family Solidarity and the organisations involved in the victory. We send them our support and encouragement as they continue to campaign for policies that promote the family in Ireland.

Unfortunately, March has been a mixed month in Europe, as abortion was enshrined in the French constitution. We responded, echoing the strong reaction of our members, CNAFC, in France. Macron’s motives were not limited to the borders of France, as he called for the establishment of abortion as a fundamental right in the EU. Indeed, the European Parliament debated the inclusion of the so-called ‘right to abortion’ in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights less than a week after the constitutional change.

As members of the European Sunday Alliance, we repeated our support for a work-free Sunday and a right to disconnect. On the annual European Day for a Work-free Sunday on March 3rd, we urged member states and EU institutions to put families at the centre of decision-making in order to combat the loneliness crisis.

On the subject of family-work balance, we welcomed the EU platform workers directive. Extending rights and protections to precarious workers provides them with dignity and flexibility. When politicians legislate on labour matters, they must remember that a worker is more than just an individual doing a job – they hold family responsibilities and contribute to the common good. When we give workers dignity, we give dignity to their families. If we are to meet the crisis of demography, we must create conditions that encourage the family. It is as clear as day – the family is an investment, not a cost.

Last week, FAFCE co-hosted a seminar at the European Parliament on the demographic crisis that Europe is facing. Entitled Investing in the Family, Investing in the Future, it was attended by MEPs and representatives from the European Commission. Toma Sutic from the latter expressed his desire to collaborate with FAFCE on projects that “create an understanding of the value of the family through data.” We thank the MEPs that contributed speeches to the conference and we thank all who attended. A thank-you is also in order for Marta Fernandez de Cordoba, our Senior Policy Officer, who presented brilliantly on behalf of FAFCE and the work we do. We have been communicating the gravity of the demographic crisis and will continue to bang the drum on demography until we turn the winter into a demographic spring in Europe.

From the 14th to 16th May, we will be in Brno (Czech Republic) for our spring board meeting. Taking place only weeks before the European elections, it will be an ideal moment of reflection. We look forward to joining Family Union, our Czech members, in Brno very soon.

It is worth reminding you, friends, that we are preparing for the conference on the Casablanca Declaration in Rome, beginning on April 5th. Co-hosted with a range of organisations from very different backgrounds, we are uniting to call for the abolition of surrogacy. Pope Francis first spoke out for this position to us at our last audience with him in 2022. The Holy Father then reiterated this at the start of 2024 in an audience with the diplomatic corps in Rome. At the conference, we will again propose the abolition of surrogacy in Europe. In order to attend the conference, please register here.

Dear Friends,

The challenges in Europe are numerous. From the war in Ukraine, to the disregard of the unborn – we must amplify the voice of life and the family. In May, we hold our next board meeting, just before the crucial European Parliament elections in June.  It is our main work to remind the European Institutions and member states of the reality of the family, as well as its great contribution to the common good. We call on your generosity to assist us in this mission. We do not receive any public funding, and so directly depend on your donations. Please do not hesitate to support us. Our website is a good source of information to learn more about the daily work of our team in Brussels and our volunteers, who together bring forth the voice of the family into this world.

We warmly wish you a Happy Easter,

Vincenzo Bassi