Pope to open online meeting on ‘demographic winter’ in Italy
Pope Francis is due to open a meeting to discuss the challenges posed by Italy’s low birth rate.
“For more than a decade, Italy has become an increasingly older and less populated country, suffering from structural and legislative deficiencies at the fiscal, economic and social level”, all of which have exacerbated the decline in births, according to a press release on the Meeting.
Pope Francis will open the May 14 meeting, the Vatican announced on May 3. Organizers said it was the first such meeting in Italy on the general state of her birth rate and demographics.
The meeting, he added, “will call for co-responsibility in restarting the country starting with new births”, consider the challenge of a “demographic winter” and seek a new way to talk about the issue. birth rates.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed that the Pope will attend the opening of the online initiative by delivering a speech in a Rome auditorium near the Vatican.
Promoted by the Forum of Family Associations, the meeting will also examine the demographic situation in other parts of the world and how it has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, according to the press release, more than a million families in Italy are living in poverty because of the pandemic.
The forum, he said, hoped to find ways to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise from Italy’s post-COVID-19 recovery and resilience plan, in which Italy was due to receive some 209 billion euros in grants and low-interest loans from Italy. the European Union stimulus fund – the highest amount of an EU country.
The organizers will bring together representatives of government institutions, businesses, mass media and the world of culture and sport.
Gianluigi De Palo, president of the Forum of Family Associations, said in a press release on April 29 that Italy’s low birth rate is not just a “cold statistical fact” but represents a real national tragedy that cripples already the country’s social security system, social assistance. assistance, universal health care and the future of the younger generations.
The country lacks policies and programs to adequately redress the situation and does not consider family and children as a common good, he said.
The May 14 meeting, he said, will be an opportunity to study the “many problems that have led to these demographic, social and economic effects” and to find ways out of “this very dangerous impasse” .
Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his concern over falling birth rates in Italy and across Europe. To mark the day of life in Italy on February 7, he said: “In Italy, births have declined and the future is in danger”.
The Pope called on Italians “to take this worry and try to bring this demographic winter to an end and a new spring of baby boys and girls to flourish.”
Citing figures released by Italy’s National Bureau of Statistics, the Forum of Family Associations said Italy registered 439,747 births in 2018 and 420,084 in 2019, almost 20,000 fewer than the previous year. In 2020, 404,104 births were registered, a further drop of 3.8% and nearly 16,000 fewer births than in 2019. At the same time, the number of people who died increased by 17.6% in 2020 to nearly 112,000. more deaths than in 2019.