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Sat, 14 Dec 2019 04:48 GMT

French Population Growth - A Model for EU States

Lifestyle & Health

Roberto Tumbarello

Mon, 05 Aug 2019 12:24 GMT

Government delegations from all over the world arrive in Paris to study the model that brought France to the highest birth rate in Europe. Macron has solved the problem of falling births, which, instead, haunts Italy and many other European countries. Italy, along with Malta, is right at the bottom of the ranking. In these countries, fewer children are born than people die. 

Paris is not just the city of artists and romantics. For some time it also became a destination for scholars from Japan, South Korea and China. They are sent to understand the secret of French fertility, almost two children per woman. They are science fiction figures for those coming from countries where cradles have been empty for years. Even China with its billion and a half inhabitants has serious birth dilemma. 

Without newborns the country grows old, with the risk of becoming a huge hospice for octogenarians, who can no longer pay pensions or purchase medicines. Especially since many young people between the ages of 18 to 35, particularly graduates who specialise, emigrate abroad. So there is a need to call for doctors and other professionals from Eastern European countries. 

On a world scale, in second place after Japan, Italians, instead of being the most long-lived, are the oldest country on the planet with the lowest number of children born per woman in Europe. They risk seeing 4 million inhabitants disappear from here in 50 years, that is the size of the population of an entire region such as Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy, were to disappear. 

France, which in the 70s had suffered a thud of births as in the rest of the western world, has managed to transform itself into the nation with the highest birth rate in all of Europe just above the UK. This means that their strategy works, since no one from the Elysée law requires French couples to have children. The recipe is all about public services and fiscal policies. So that women are not forced to choose between motherhood and work. 

“The recipe of our miracle consists of putting women in a position to work and have children at the same time,'' says Frédérique Leprince, head of international relations at the National Fund for Family Allocations (CNAF) in France. This is a French public body that provides aid to families, from children allowances to the decisions on asylum. 

If an Italian woman has a child she has no time to take care of him or should stop working. The percentage of Italian female workers between the ages of 15 and 64 is 55%, compared to 68% of the French and 70% of women in Northern Europe. The structures created by the French to assist mothers make the difference. 

In France, those who have the time and the possibilities, help the state in solving certain vital problems. For example, there are many volunteers who are part of the public service and welcome some children in their home for the whole day and the state reimburses out-of-pocket expenses. Then there are kindergartens run by parents under the supervision of professionals. The nests are open from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm in the evening, that is 11 hours. 

Moreover, the French have understood since the days of De Gaulle that those who have children render a service to the country. They have therefore devised a tax system such that taxes are not paid on an individual basis, but on the family burden. In Italy, however, for children there are small tax deductions, almost imperceptible in the family economy.  

While the French created the family quotient, a tax system that can be translated into "more children, less taxes". The total taxable income is calculated by dividing the total income of the family by the number of members. It would be the miraculous resource also for Italy and other EU states.

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