Macron vows a “demographic rearmament” for France

Emmanuel Macron has pledged to “re-arm French fertility” and boost falling birth rates.

The French president announced a plan to introduce a six-month parental leave, one of many policies he said was meant to promote having children and strengthen the longterm economic outlook.

“France will also be stronger by boosting its birth rate,” Mr Macron insisted. “Until recently, we were a country where this was the strength, not the uniqueness in Europe, when we compared ourselves with our neighbours. This has become less true in recent years.”

A demographic report for 2023 shows the fewest births since the end of the Second World War. Less than 700,000 births were recorded, down 20% from 2010. The fertility rate fell to 1.68 children per woman of childbearing age, moving further away from the replacement rate of 2.1.

France still has one of the highest birthrates in Europe but it has been below replacement level for many years. .

“Habits are changing, and people are having children later and later,” said the president. “Infertility, both male and female, has risen sharply in recent years and is causing many couples to suffer. A major plan to combat this scourge will be launched to bring about this demographic rearmament.”