NOE – The National Association of Large Families in Hungary celebrated the 30th anniversary of its founding in October 2017. The whole day celebration took place in Budapest with the participation of around 800 members and guests. During the morning founding members and special guests – among them international guests such as ELFAC, WFO, IFFD, and delegates from other countries – were greeted in Varkert Bazar convention centre by NOE president Katalin Gyurko, deputy state secretary for family policy Attila Beneda and COFACE Families Europe president Annemie Drieskens.
President of NOE, Katalin Gyurko, referred in her speech to the importance of large families, the challenges and opportunities of having many children, offering ample opportunities for love and community. “Living in a large family is good! … One cannot repeat it often enough, as it is not only one of the slogans but also the most important message of our Association.”
President of COFACE Families Europe, Annemie Drieskens, congratulated NOE on their efforts to defend the interests of families, highlighting the importance of civil society organisations to support the implementation of fundamental human rights enshrined in international law. In this spirit of pluralism and equal opportunities, COFACE advocates for all family forms without discrimination, including large families. “Families provide the natural structure in which people and especially children receive emotional, financial and material support that is of great importance to their development.”
Read more about NOE here.
Read the full speech of COFACE Families Europe President below.
As President of COFACE Families Europe, I am delighted to address you today and I want first of all congratulate the President and the board members with the 30 anniversary of NOE and express my appreciation for all volunteers and staff members who were involved yesterday and those still actively involved for the best interest of families in Hungary and abroad.
NOE, together with the Single Parents Association of Hungary (Egyszülö), joined the network of COFACE Families Europe only last year, representing different types of families in Hungary. We are progressively getting to know both our new Hungarian network members.
What I can already confirm is that COFACE Families Europe is happy to welcome pluralistic and independent organizations, important civil society actors, to raise the voice of families and defend their interest. It is our mission to promote the well-being, health and security of all families and their members in a changing society.
The shrinking civic space in some countries is a disfavour to our European societies. Civil society organisations are essential to support the implementation of fundamental human rights enshrined in international law.
For COFACE Families Europe, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, are the starting point for our European advocacy, in line with our core values are pluralism, non-discrimination, equal opportunities, solidarity.
We all know that the way in which families are formed, function and evolve varies from country to country. But in each culture families provide the natural structure in which people and especially children receive emotional, financial and material support that is of great importance to their development.
Families have also evolved greatly in the course of the years. There is actually everywhere in Europe a great diversity in family forms, so a uniform family model is less relevant than ever. COFACE advocates for all family forms and we always take in account the special needs of large families and families in vulnerable situations out there which need targeted support, including one-parent families, migrant and refugee families, families where a member is disabled, LGBT families.
Families play an essential role in society. According to Sociologist prof. Esping Andersen, there are three key players in the production of welfare: the state, the market and the family.
All of us, women and men, adults and children we need a family of some kind. It is quite clear that politics at any level cannot disregard the family as part of the nature of human being.
And were decision makers do so, family organisations are on hand to call them to order. That is what COFACE Families Europe does towards the EU, and what COFACE members do towards their national partners.
In our 21st century, a digital century with new challenges for families (in the economic, demographic, and social sphere.) we need to rethink family policy holistically to ensure a real continuum of support.
We are convinced that what families need all over Europe can be resumed in RST, they need a mix of resources, services, and time. We cannot talk about one dimension without the other – they are all part of the same reconciliation equation.
This continuum of support is essential to allow all families in Europe to thrive, to care for their children and ageing parents and not have to make choices between work and family.
Our vision is clearly set out in our COFACE paper “Families on the Edge” from March 2017. COFACE Families Europe is delighted that the European Union responded to our demands.
In April this year The European Commission proposed a package of measures to help working parents and working carers, focusing on paternity leave, parental leave, carers leave, and flexible work arrangements.
We very much welcomed the legislative proposal of the European Commission – first of all we clearly need legislation to ensure enforcement and real access to paid family leaves for all women and men.
We welcome the life-course perspective taken in the approach of the Commission. This is in line with demographic realities of our shrinking and wrinkling population and with increasing numbers of three- and four-generation families. Working parents and adults with ageing parents , both need full support and resources, services and time.
We welcome the objective of supporting more women into the labour market and at the same time supporting men in their family carer role. Women more at work and men more at home is a good way to close the so called Care Gap.
For COFACE Families Europe Work Life Balance and Gender Equality go hand in hand.
Ladies and gentlemen this European Commission proposal does not impose one model for family life, but it paves the way for providing a continuum of support which will give real choices for families. This is good, since this is currently not the case across many European countries.
We are convinced that Europe can contribute positively to the life of families, and as COFACE Families Europe we will do our best to ensure this work-life balance directive is passed.
We count on the full support of NOE and of our members!
Together we can build a better society for all families.
Many thanks and on behalf of COFACE Families Europe.
I wish NOE, I wish all of you, I wish families in Hungary all the best.