This is the Declaration on the Demographic Renewal of Europe signed by Prime Ministers Viktor Orbán of Hungary; Janez Janša of Slovenia; Andrej Babiš of the Czech Republic and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. It is the result of the IV Budapest Demographic Summit, held on September 23 – 24.
The document warns that not a single member state of the European Union (EU) has enough children to sustain its population growth. Europeans constituted, in 1960, 12% of the world population, and today they are around 6%. It is expected that by 2070 they will be less than 4%.
The declaration commits its signatories to place family support at the center of their government activities; encourage married couples to have as many children as they wish through an effective family policy, including support for decent and affordable housing; encourage the development of labor-based economies that offer fair wages and ample employment opportunities; ensure that economic growth is supportive of families; and assist in making motherhood and fatherhood socially valued.
In addition, it defends that family policy is a national prerrogative, configured in accordance with the constitution, traditions and customs of each community. It rejects the attempts of the EU to prevent Member States from introducing and maintaining family-friendly tax policies; and encourages political actions so that population growth is seen as a pillar of sustainability and one of the priorities of the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework.
This is the full text:
Declaration on the Demographic Renewal of Europe
1. Today, not a single EU Member State or any other European country has enough children to sustain the population level, despite the fact that European citizens still want to have more than 2 children on average.
2. The vast majority of Europeans are family-centric.
3. The proportion of Europeans steadily declines compared to the world In 1960 the population of EU-27 made up about 12% of the world’s population. That is down to about 6% today, and is projected to fall to below 4% by 2070.
4. As a result, in this new international order, the influence, competitiveness, economic strength and the room for maneuver of the aging Europe are deteriorating.
5. In recent years, there has also been a trend for comprehensive family-friendly initiatives to improve demographic indicators in Central and Eastern European countries in parallel with economic performance, providing an effective long-term model for addressing demographic challenges.
1. The European continent faces a serious demographic crisis which is one of the most pressing current chal- lenges in our region.
2. Our population is rapidly aging due to demographic By 2020, the proportion of citizens over the age of 65 has risen to 21%, while that of those under the age of 15 has fallen to 15%. This poses a significant challenge to the sustainable development of our societies and our economic growth that requires a skilled workforce.
3. Particular attention should be also given to the situation in rural and post-industrial areas, where the demographic trends may lead to depopulation and pose a long-term risk.
4. Increasing the number of European children is essential to preserving Europe’s Christian culture and other religious traditions for future We can only build successful European nations by having strong families and communities.
5. There are several solutions to address the demographic decline of European countries. We are in favor of supporting families, facilitating the birth of children that Europeans want to have, capitalizing internal resources and strengthening communities.
6. Migration should not be seen as the main tool to tackle demographic Two thirds of European citizens would solve the demographic challenges by supporting the birth of European children, and only a quarter consider migration to be a good solution.
7. Each Member State should shape its own family policy in accordance with its own constitution, traditions and customs. Family policy is and should remain a national competence. We also reject efforts to create a fiscal policy in the EU that would prevent Member States from introducing and maintaining fami- ly-friendly fiscal policies.
8. Europe can only be a winner of the 21st century if it puts supporting families in the center of its activities.
We the signatory heads of state and government commit ourselves to
1. Continue working for the safety and prosperity of European families and exchange our experience and best practices.
2. Bridge the European fertility gap and, through an effective family policy, including support for decent and affordable housing for families with children, help ensure that every European citizen may have as many children as they want.
3. Use all available means and resources to enable couples, especially young couples, to fulfill their family planning goals.
4. Use the room for maneuver provided by economic growth to further support families.
5. Encourage the establishment and development of a work-fare economy providing decent wages and employ- ment opportunities for all families.
6. Do our utmost to improve the social perception of childbearing and parenting.
7. Call for the allocation of sufficient EU funds also available for accession countries to tackle demographic chal- lenges and to further improve work-life balance as well as employment opportunities for parents.
8. Call for mainstreaming demographic considerations in all EU policies and for introducing mechanisms to offset their adverse demographic effects.
9. Work for the recognition of demography as one of the pillars of sustainability and one of the priorities of the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework, and consequently an adequate restructuring of expenditures to reflect its importance.
Budapest, 23 September 2021.