Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-198"

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"Latvia is proud to be a full member of the European Union's family of nations and that we can work together in a unified way for the good of all of Europe. We have been working toward this goal for fifteen years. Our achievements are significant, creating and developing an economy and a social policy. We have also encountered various problems, however, which are becoming especially relevant in the context of the common European economy and social policy. One of these problems is the demographic crisis, which affects all of Europe. Statistics show clearly that all over Europe a so called demographic winter has set in and the question naturally follows: for whom, then, are we creating and building this beautiful, unified and prosperous Europe? There is no simple solution to this issue and it is not merely bound up with economic and social policy, because it is also a question of values. Even the best conceived and most balanced employment policy, thorough social protection and a system of pensions, sexual equality and social benefits will not be perfect unless it is grounded in the basic values of society – on ethical and moral norms. Only a harmonious and sound family is able to ensure that these social values are inculcated in every resident, in every child. Therefore the interests of the family must be taken into account, and they must be the driving force of all economic and social policy initiatives. Latvia is aware of the threats posed by the demographic crisis and therefore the issues of family and child welfare have now been put forward as the Latvian Government's priorities. We call on Europe to take similar action, because only then will we be able to tackle the social problems that threaten all of Europe, which are related to the demographic crisis and the inevitable ageing of the population and the growth in the economic burden on the working population. Economic and social welfare is not conceivable without the welfare of families all over Europe, because the welfare of the child is dependent on the welfare of the family and that is the basis of a strong, secure and prosperous Europe. Therefore today I want to call on you, in debating every issue of economic and social policy, to devote particular attention to the basic value and the foundation of society – the family."@en1

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