Brussels, 25th April 2024

On Monday FAFCE co-hosted a conference in the Netherlands on family policy and the European Union. Co-organised by FAFCE member Family Platform (Gezinsplatform) and the Growing Up Symposium (Opgroeisympsosium), the day featured key interventions from Cardinal Wim Eijk, Hélène Selderhuis (policy adviser to Bert-Jan Ruissen MEP of ECR) and the members of the FAFCE team.

FAFCE President Vincenzo Bassi focused on the “pandemic of loneliness” in our European societies. He stressed that networks of families are the antidote to this isolation. “We don’t have to convince people so much to defend the family, but show them that the family is a resource,” he added.

He continued: “We don’t use religious categories; we try to explain that the family fulfills a function that is for the benefit of all. Society thrives when families play a role. We see this in small parishes, but also in urban areas. The family scores goals all the time, but no one notices.”

Secretary General of FAFCE, Nicola Speranza, Policy Officer Teresa Gerns, and Project Manager Maria Waszkiewicz all provided detailed explanations of their work. They reiterated the comment the federation’s statutes that FAFCE is, truly, the only European family association movement working on behalf of all families while referring explicitly to the Social and Family Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Speranza reflected on the two-pronged approach of FAFCE: to represent the voice of the family and the level of the European institutions; and to encourage and support the flourishing of family associations on the continent.

Gerns described the several policy fronts that FAFCE is currently engaged with, from surrogacy and human dignity, to demography and the economy of the family.

Waszkiewicz informed the conference hall about several ongoing projects, ranging from the European Sunday Alliance and family and work-life balance, to Shield platform and the protection of minors from digital harms. 

Board member of FAFCE member Family Platform, Yvonne Koopman, said: “It is important that families make their voices heard, not out of anger, but to show what families are up against. Ultimately, the government is responsible for ensuring that citizens can live their lives the way they want.”

FAFCE would like to thank our member Family Platform, the Growing Up Symposium, Cardinal Wim Eijk and Hélène Selderhuis for their thought-provoking and encouraging contributions. We would also like to thank the interpreter and all attendees, especially policymakers and campaigners, representatives of the Focolare Movement, the Neocatechumenal Way, and the Emmanuel Community.

Read more about what they said in this report by Francesco Paloni (photos by Wim Koopman).