Constitutional duty to help young couples – Mattarella

President Sergio Mattarella said Friday that it is Constitutional obligation for the political world to help young couples start families in a message to a conference on reversing declining birth rates.

“The country’s future depends on its ability to respond to the (needs of) younger generations,” Mattarella said in a message to Family Minister Eugenia Maria Roccella for a conference entitled ‘For a Young Europe: Demographic Transition, Environment, Future”.

“It is necessary for the institutions to be aware of this and implement active policies that allow young couples to realize their life plans, overcoming the difficulties of a material nature and those regarding access to services that make the path to parenthood difficult.

“It is a question of implementing what is dictated by the Constitution”.

Premier Giorgia Meloni has said that reversing Italy’s declining birth rate is among her government’s top priorities, with the 2024 budget bill allocating 2.5 billion euros to addressing this issue.

The budget includes measures for nurseries, tax breaks for firms that give working mothers permanent job contracts and payment of the social-security contributions of women who have two children or more.

National statistics agency Istat said in December that Italy’s birth rate fell to a new record low of 393,000 in 2022, almost 7,000 fewer births than in 2021.

“The Italian birth-rate trend is serious,” Roccella told the conference.

“Inattention to this issue lasted too many years not to leave consequences and it will take a long time to halt and then reverse the trend.

“The decline in the number of women of childbearing age is now too pronounced for birth rate measures to have the same effect as they would have had when the number of young women was still high”.