Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-03-23-Speech-4-048"

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"Mr President, the rapporteur, Mr Bushill-Matthews, who is known for his attention to detail and heightened sensitivity and who has patiently prepared this report, has quite rightly highlighted possible solutions to the demographic problem, starting with the means of decisively addressing low economic growth and high rates of unemployment. A varied approach is advocated, depending on the circumstances, which – as is rightly emphasised – must respect freedom of choice and facilitate the exercise of the fundamental human right of European families to have as many children as they wish, without the obstacles raised by the difficulty of combining a professional and family life. Identifying these obstacles and those which exist both inside and outside the workplace (such as taxation, housing and the cost of education, health and insurance) is the responsibility of the Member States, given that the Member States alone shape both development and family policy. Historically, of course, immigration has often resolved the problem of renewing the population and today it fills the gap created by our choice to have no children or just one child at an advanced age. What has brought us to these life choices in times of peace and opulence? Seeking the causes of demographic change is not the concern either of the European Commission or of the governments. It does not fall within the competences of the European Union; it falls within the competence of each European citizen who wants to go beyond his human capabilities, both in planning the beginning of life and in imposing its end. Certainly education, training and finding work in an environment of sustainable development are necessary preconditions to a high standard of living. However, if there is to be no demographic problem, if new Europeans are to be born and grow old under dignified conditions, future parents need of their own accord to have a demand for reliability in their personal relations and, in general, a vision of life for the present and the future."@en1

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