Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-03-23-Speech-4-042"

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". Mr President, in 1981 in Ireland I heard a lecture by Dr Herbert Ratner, a professor of public health and medical ethics. In it he described the demography of continental western Europe. He accurately predicted the pattern we now see of birth-rate freefall by the year 2000 and the terminal decline of population by 2020, which is now inevitable. In this lecture Dr Ratner warned his Irish listeners to continue to choose life and, among the many benefits this brings, avoid the demographic suicide of our European neighbours. We chose life two years later in a referendum to protect the life of the human person from conception to natural death. Ireland’s birth rate is now falling, but we delayed the trend by 20 years and, although today we are just below replacement, we still have the healthiest birth rate, the youngest workforce and the strongest economy in the EU. As the Commission’s Green Paper on demography states, there is no economic growth without population growth. I can think of many good reasons for the EU to embrace the culture of life, the dignity of the human person and God. But, if for no other reason than economic growth and a viable future for Europe, we should rethink our attitude to the sanctity of life, to the position of the family and to support for mothers and other carers."@en1

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