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Europe: Be fruitful and multiply

And the results are in. Colin wants to know about the German request that we all have more children, and no one has objected, so here goes.

Frau Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (what about middle aged chaps, eh?), for it is she, has laid out under the snappy title 'Seize demographic change as an opportunity and promote equal opportunities for all at work and in society' the following:

1. Strengthen families: more children in families and more families in society

2. Promote equal opportunities for women and men at work and in family life

3. Experience shapes the future: Recognise opportunities – use knowledge and experience – develop new markets

4. Strive for equal opportunities and social participation for all children and young people

She, erm, walks it like she talks it, in that apparently there are seven variously sized von der Leyens. Is an order from the Federal Minister for blah blah blah going to be enough, or might there be inducements? Way back lost in the mists of time, a German politician tried to encourage the people to have more kinder by pointing out that even the most expensive Mercedes could not say 'mummy and daddy'. It did not result in a baby boom.

(And coming up later, 'positively limiting people’s choices')

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Anonymous Voyager said... 6:06 pm

Please don't be insulting towards Ursula van der Leyen. I happen to know her and making comments about the Nazis is not at all pleasant.

Yes she is a doctor and she is married to a doctor, and she is a very genuine person whose concern is that Germany has the lowest birthrate anywhere in the advanced world.

I much prefer Frau Dr Van der Leyen whose father was displaced as Prime Minister of Niedersachsen by one Gerhard Schroeder, to any of the "women" in the Blair Government. She is far more accomplished academically and far pleasanter as an individual  

Anonymous Voyager said... 6:08 pm

as a little footnote - having lost two of her siblings to very early and premature deaths - I think having a large family is commendable  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:12 pm

Voyager - Points taken, but the comment by a politician about talking Mercedes was only made about 10 or so years back, so no tasteless parallel was intended.  

Anonymous Colin said... 10:15 pm


Thanks a lot for the article.

While voyager is right about Mrs. van der Leyen's more pleasant appearance and family-oriented attitude, I very much doubt that she is able to increase fertility by governmental programs.

The cause of the demographic disaster in Europe is the compulsory pension system of the welfare states which privatises the costs for children and socialises the benefits.

In Europe, the growth of social security payments is associated with the decline of fertility almost one-to-one: Making Kids Worthless: Social Security's Contribution to the Fertility Crisis.

Neither Mrs. van der Leyen nor any other politician in Europe is able to abandon the pension system of the welfare state. Hence, nothing is going to change with regard to the declining fertility and the replacement of native European's by immigrants. (What is now the officially acceptable word for immigrants? Migrants, fellow citizens, ...? I don't want to end in prison due to the use of a forbidden word.)

Mrs. van der Leyen seems to be a firm believer in the necessity of political correctness with regard to gender mainstreaming. She insisted that governmental support for parents will not be paied in full if the man doesn't stay at home to take care of the kid for at least two month. The latter was a compromise. Originally, she wanted it to be longer.

Once again, we see here the abuse of power by politicians. First, they take away from the people a large part of their income and then they give part of it back under the condition that the people behave according to their desires. Obviously, parents haven't anymore the right to decide for themselves how to organize their private life. Mrs. van der Leyen makes the decisions for them. If she gets her way, every male in the EU can expect to be reeducated according to Mrs. van der Leyen's whims.

That's typical for the hybris of politicians. Before the election, they claim to be the servant of the people's will and after the election they start to reeducate them by coercion.  

Anonymous verity said... 1:17 am

Colin is correct.

However pleasant Ursula van der Leyen is as a person, and however good a mother to seven children she is, she has a dictatorial streak. Apologies if I offend you, Voyager, but Colin nails the reason for the declining birth rate in Britain and European countries. The governments pried their way in to the most private of all human arrangements, the family.

What absolute cheek to be dictating how a father and mother divide their time on notice that they will lose some taxpayer funds if her wishes aren't met! It's not her personal money she is distributing as Lady Bountiful. Other people earned it and had it confiscated by the government.

I'm sorry, Voyager, and I respect your opinion, but she is a bloody impertinent know-it-all with a strong dictatorial streak and she should not be in a position of power over other human beings. She's Human Resources management material, but she should not be in government. Any government.  

Anonymous Voyager said... 7:39 am

Coalition Agreement

Colin is correct.

Colin is incorrect. Very.

Ursula van der Leyen has no interest in gender mainstreaming that is SPD politics not CDU.

The EU requires that maternity/paternity leave be available...but the whole matter is laid out in the 133 page Coalition Agreement between CDU and SPD.

Had the German electorate not wanted to block any change they would not have constrained Merkel by putting the SPD in such a position of influence after the election that only a Grand Coalition could form a govt.

Germans are State-Worshippers and Subsidy-Junkies and the SPD wanted the Family Minister portfolio but Merkel insisted the CDU have it - Stoiber had a candidate for this role - a cohabiting mother of three children (not very CDU )

The German problem is that the well-educated do not have families. That has simple roots in that they must live and work in major cities where rents are high and many specify adults-only in the rental contracts.

To pay these rents requires two incomes.

It is actually men who find children a problem because in countries like Germany divorce leads to penury with women taking children and getting pasid on the Duesseldorf Table of support which leaves the man as basically living to service the State and an Ex-Wife.

The risks are enormous and marriage is now more like an Employment Contract for women who can walk off and lodge compensation claims.

At the same time employment is more contingent for men. The GDR had a 50% divorce rate but high rates of working women in make-work jobs long since abolished.

The problems of buying a home and keeping a job make family a difficult proposition and frankly the maternity pay is piffling to anyone earning above the Beitragsbemessungsgrenze as it is to anyone in a well-paid job here.

Unless you are a couple of Corporate Lawyers living in LOndon and paying school fees etc can be a bit stretching as it will be when tuition fees start being repaid.

In Germany with Military Service and long-winded degrees a graduate starts out at 26 looking for a job and never really gets any cash reserves because The State sucks out c 45-50% income and rents another 20-30%  

Anonymous Voyager said... 7:57 am

I respect your opinion, but she is a bloody impertinent know-it-all with a strong dictatorial streak.

Now Verity explain what you base your inaccurate comment on....you have neither met her nor seen her on TV.....your response is Pavlovian  

Anonymous verity said... 7:37 pm

You don't have to meet a politician to know what they stand for, Voyager. She apparently wants to dictate how benefits be awarded according to how the mother and father divide their caring for the family. She wants the fathers to be at home for a certain period of time while the mother goes out to work.

This is typical socialist behavioural engineering and I do not like it.  

Anonymous Colin said... 9:41 pm

Verity is correct that "This is typical socialist behavioural engineering and I do not like it." I don't like it either.

Voyager is correct that it is part of the coalition agreement between the left (social democrats) and the "conservatives" (christian democrats). However, the latter were not forced into the government but Mrs. Merkel wanted absolutely to rule, if necessary at the expense of the voters.

The "conservatives" could have remained in opposition for another 4 years and could have stopped every socialist law with their conservative majority in the second parliament (the so-called Bundesrat). Instead, they have passed more socialist laws than the social democratic - green coalition goverment, e.g. more taxes and regulations, an anti-discrimination law which is worse than Brussel's corresponding directive, state medicine, a gender mainstreaming bureaucracy etc.

For example, chapter 5 of the coalition agreement states "We want to strengthen the gender competence and we guarantee its effective implementation by establishing the necessary and adequate instruments such as for example the Gender Competence Centre."

Bettina Roehl wrote in Cicero, a conservative magazine, an enlightening article about The Gender Mainstreaming Strategy of Mrs. van der Leyen's governmental department. Unfortunately, only in German.

Anyhow, the proof of the pudding is what politicians do, not what they believe or say. And as a matter of fact, Mrs. van der Leyen puts the ideas of socialists into effect.

For example, recently she has managed to establish another layer of bureaucracy surveilling the correct behavior of parents.

Recently, a few alcohol and drug addicted parents killed their children by neglect. These families were known to the local youth agencies of the city. As a result the city bureaucrats were accused of not having prevented these tragedies.

That was sufficient reason for Mrs. van der Leyen to proudly announce that she will establish an entirely new nationwide net of surveillance for the security of children.

How a national bureaucracy should be able to know more than the local authorities, remains a mystery. Once a new bureaucracy has been established, it is likely to obtain more and more power to intrude into the lives of normal families, naturally only for the good cause to save the children.

The killing of a few children by neclect of mentally deficient parents is sufficient reason for a busy body like Mrs. van der Leyen to put the parents of an entire nation under surveillance. Brave new world!

Who really needs a "conservative" politician in power if she or he carries out the policies of the socialists?  

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