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Caritas Europa to European decision makers: Put the Family first when shaping the future of Europe


15 May 2014


Social Europe & Jobs
Statement on the occasion of International Day of Families 15 May 2014

On the International Day of Families, Caritas Europa reiterates that the family is at the heart of our society. All European decision makers should have this in their minds when developing the future of Europe, notably those who are now candidates for the European elections. We believe that the European Union can improve the lives of millions of families, not only in Europe but across the globe, notably by supporting:

Families in economic crisis

As depicted in our recent ‘Crisis monitoring report’, European policies in times of economic crisis are having a devastating impact on millions of families. The EU and its Member States have focused on economic policies, at the expenses of social policies, ignoring how social systems are being downsized and individuals and families are under stress. The report shows an unfair Europe; a Europe where social cohesion is fading out and where people’s trust on the political institutions is increasingly weakening. This creates a risk for Europe on a larger, long-term scale.

We believe that authorities have choices. They can decide what policy approaches to use and who to target with them, basing their decision on fairness and justice.

Migration and family reunification

Caritas Europa calls on the EU and its Member States to guarantee the effective right to family life and family reunification for all migrants and beneficiaries of international protection. Several EU Member States have still not properly transposed the EU Directive on Family Reunification and are systematically using illegal conditions to prevent families from reunification. This is in breach of EU rules and against the ruling of the EU Court of Justice of 2010 that clearly states that the Directive's aim is to promote family reunification.

These Member States must change their stance and stop shattering families and causing unnecessary suffering.

International development – Family farming

As pointed out in Caritas Europa’s new report on ‘Food security’, sustainable family farming is the key sustainable model for development in agriculture. 70 percent of the people living in extreme poverty worldwide live in rural areas, and the vast majority of hungry people in the world are small scale farmers. Women also have a key role in agriculture and this has been widely recognized by the international community. Family is at the heart of our society; for this reason Caritas organisations worldwide are convinced of the importance of family farming as a key element to fight hunger consistently and effectively, and to grant a decent life for all. Key features of family farming are the preservation of traditional knowledge, sustainable management of natural resources, the empowerment of women and an economic model based on community and solidarity.

Smallholders and agro ecology need to be supported and we call for an increase in research and development for agriculture. Sustainable food production for local consumption should be ensured by international and EU policies, as the United Nations, through the FAO, are proposing for 2014 with the “International Year of Family Farming”.

Read more about our report ‘The European Crisis and its Human Cost’.

Read more about our report ‘The EU’s Role to End Hunger by 2025’.


Press contact:

Thorfinnur Omarsson
Tel: +32 4 73341393


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