ELFAC statement on large families in Europe and COVID-19 emergency

These days, images of large families struggling with their everyday life have warmed the hearts of many people. And yet, behind the strength and creativity shown by families with more than three children, lies a series of difficulties that the public is not aware of:

  • Episodes of intolerance have been recorded in Germany, where families have asked for a ‘certificate’” in order to be able to carry out their ‘extra-large’ shopping without being suspected of improper supply.
  • In Spain, a father was fined for going with his son by car to do the shopping for his family of 8 children, two grandparents and great-grandmother (more than one person per car was prohibited).
  • In Latvia, the private company Samsung had to intervene to allow part of children of large families to get a tablet for e-classes at home, helping Government to solve the problem for all schoolchildren; this problem was also raised by the Italian Association of Large Families and even in Estonia, which has a leading position in computerization. Many large families have only one computer or two, which is not sufficient, for example, for five children.

These are just some examples of life for large families during COVID19 in Europe, where, according to Eurostat data, 1/3 of children live with at least two siblings.

“We are worried” – says Regina Maroncelli, President of ELFAC, the European Confederation of Large Families – “because even in this emergency, families with more children continue to be penalized and ignored, adding unfairness and difficulty to an already rather complicated situation, which could have very serious consequences also from the economic point of view.”

Therefore, for the 25 associations of 23 European countries it represents, ELFAC, the European Confederation of Large Families:

  1. Invites the European Commission, Commissioner Ursula van der Leyen and Vice-President fro Demography Dubravka Suica to speed up and deepen the discussion for “the child guarantee”.
  2. Invites States to always take into account the number of family members in income support measures and to safeguard the right to education.
  3. Invites local and national governments to create and/or strengthen family cards as a tool to support families and economic recovery, and to cooperate to establish the European Large Family Card.

“It is important that the institutions listen to the voice of families and involve family associations in the elaboration of the necessary and useful measures to overcome the emergency. Supporting families and children is an essential investment in the future that awaits us after the Coronavirus.”, concludes the president of ELFAC, Regina Maroncelli.

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