Vienna, 12 April 2018

The Demographic Winter is a silent emergency which concerns all European Countries. For this reason, gathered in Vienna for our 2018 Spring Board Meeting, we, Presidents and Delegates of the Board of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE), wishes to draw the attention to this situation, which is at the core of financial and social problems which need to be addressed. There is no time to wait. There is no excuse anymore. We need to act, for the wellbeing of aged people, for the rights of our youth, for the future of our children.

Recalling its 20th Anniversary Declaration – Families’ are Europe’s Treasure and building block for the future (Rome, 31 May 2017), calling on the Governments of the European States to promote and create family policies at the national level and promote family friendly EU policies, whilst respecting the principle of subsidiarity;

Considering the European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2017 on European standards for the 21st century (2016/2274(INI)) stressing the need to take into account the demographic ageing of Europe;

Considering the Demographic outlook for the European Union (December 2017) which acknowledges that Europe is ageing dramatically;

Considering the Policy Paper published by the Schuman Foundation on Europe 2050: the demographic suicide (27 February 2018);

FAFCE calls on the leaders of the European Union and its Member States to:

Implement policies which consider the family as the first enterprise, as the desire of life for our Continent is expressed not only through economic initiatives but also by raising children as “The entrepreneurial spirit remains closely linked to the family spirit” (Cf. Europe 2050: the demographic suicide, p. 6);

Consider that a true family policy is not just a mere social support, but represents a forward-looking policy for the common good for an ageing society;

Support advanced palliative care and home care health policies, protecting the dignity of every person until the natural death;

Take into account the demands of young people, who often would like to build a new family, with at least two or more children, but are often discouraged by individualistic policies and cultures which are hostile to the family;

Raise awareness about the demographic winter and the urgency of acting on this field with international initiatives;

Put the family at the center of national policies, so that the demographic winter could become a demographic Spring, to build the future of Europe.