Bishops Seek a Family-Friendly Europe

BRUSSELS, Belgium, MARCH 16, 2004 ( The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community has encouraged the European Union to make families a priority.

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The COMECE Secretariat published detailed proposals today for an EU Family Strategy designed to make the enlarged Union «the most family-friendly region of the world by 2010.»

The strategy would «complement the existing Lisbon Strategy on economic growth and social reform,» COMECE said in a statement.

«Family policy is and should remain the primary responsibility of member states,» of the Europe Union, the COMECE secretariat added.

The COMECE strategy contains detailed proposals to promote:

— the integration of elderly people within society — primarily through helping their families to help them.

— fairer children-friendly regulations and policies.

— fairer regulations and policies on marriage and parenting.

— closer links between generations.

— public support for families in particular need.

— family associations and a better representation of families in public life.

«Promoting the family will ultimately make EU citizens happier, produce greater social cohesion, have a positive effect on public health, and may in the process contribute to reversing the decline in the EU birthrate,» the COMECE statement concludes.

The proposed strategy can be downloaded at

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