22 July 2021

We are living through a time of rebuilding for Europe, with great responsibility arising from it. However, it is too easy to follow the inclination of going “back to normal”, to how things used to be. On the contrary, we need to interpret the generative desire of the family, in particular by using the current situation as an opportunity to initiate a change of paradigm, inspired by the reality of families and their communities and not by ideology. We call on European and national stakeholders to include the family as the most necessary cell for investment in the social, economic, demographic and democratic future of Europe, as we called for in our last Board Resolution.

We need your support in order to continue our work, to remind the EU institutions of the role and the irreplaceable function of the family. We are happy and proud to see the European Parliament’s calls to include policies that support families in the budget of the EU. The demographic situation of all EU Members-States is indeed alarming: as we relentlessly recall, demography must be put high on every agenda, beyond all political divisions. In this sense, we welcomed the inclusion of this concern in the programs of both the Portuguese and Slovenian Presidencies this year.

These political initiatives, however, must lead to concrete policies: we therefore just launched a project on the situation of families in rural areas in the context of demographic decline, together with the Madrina Foundation.

We also raise awareness of the specific challenges that families face, with special attention to the needs of children during and after this time of pandemic, from their access to education to their protection online.

Together with our Member Associations and with your help, we will continue to defend the dignity of human procreation and of every person throughout her/his life.

Our work touches upon a great diversity of topics, yet it only echoes the fact that the family is the heart and starting point of all society: in fact, as Pope Francis told us in 2017, our “wide gamut of activities is summed up in integral service to the family”. FAFCE is, truly, the only European family association working on behalf of families and guarding in its work the richness of Catholic Social Teaching. In this sense, we concluded this month a memorandum of understanding with the Council of the European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), signifying that Family associations are at the service of the Church and the common good. As Card. Bagnasco said on this occasion, “Pastors and families are called to be together for the new evangelisation of Europe: unity is what attracts people to God. And this is a sign of unity. In the face of the challenges of secularisation and falling birth rates, there is an urgent need to avoid defeatism and rather, to roll up our sleeves and work together.”

Our action at the European Union and at the Council of Europe produced many results, from the promotion of family mainstreaming to the organisation of many Webinars, and meetings with EU officials, national representations and NGOs working here in Brussels and in Strasbourg.

Our results are concrete, and our will to work remains constant. The highest obstacle we now face is the shortage of financial means to pursue our work. Yet I deeply believe that a great mission is in front of us, and that no obstacle is too great. If so, we are all called to take up our responsibilities. We thus need your support, as we support the voice of the family and your voice here in Brussels, in Strasbourg, and throughout Europe.

Vincenzo Bassi,