I am highly pleased to open the launching ceremony of the Year of Family.
It is justly stated that one of the essential values of the humanity is the institution of Family. The Family is the fundamental structure of the society and it teaches us how to love, how to share our emotions and how to evolve on a spiritual level.
At this time, the family institution in the Republic of Moldova is subject to destruction. Depopulation, mass migration, growth of the divorce rate and the fact that the social uncertainty is getting worse, have led to massive changes in the plan of establishing families and threatening the gene pool of the country and our existence in time.
At the present moment it is obvious that the demographic situation in the Republic of Moldova is highly worrisome, and the only way for our nation to overcome the decline and the disintegration is by making of this issue a high priority concern for the political class itself as well as for the academic environment and the civil society.
I want to draw your attention to the fact that we hold one of the first positions in the saddest top in the world – Top countries with the fastest shrinking population. I think that the demographic problem is the issue number one of our nation. The rest of them can be solved and recovered in a couple of years or decades of hard work and effort. But how can we re-establish the componence of a nation that is destroyed itself through emigration, low natality rate and high mortality rate?
The Republic of Moldova has around 1 million people less than the Moldovan Socialist Soviet Republic at the end of 1980s and if we take in consideration the current trends of massive emigration, for work or study purposes, then the number of demographics losses is rising up to 2 million. It is very important to mention that the biggest percentage of emigrants comes from the younger generation that leads to an irretrievable loss of brilliant mindsets, work force and of growth potential.
At this moment, in Republic of Moldova the natality rate is around twice as less than in 1991 and the trends for the future are highly alarming as on the average, families prefer to have only one kid. Nowadays, the number of children with an age below 17 represents 19% of the total population (of about 676 thousand) compared to 33% in the 1990s. It is an intense reduction that is continuously increasing and at the same time it further aggravates the demographic situation.
As a result, a multitude of kindergartens, schools and hospitals are being closed. In some of the villages the number of newborns for the period of a year equals to zero and a considerable number of small children are being raised without their parents, without an educational base and without the opportunity to assimilate the values of a family life.
We all know that the true wealth of our country is its people but unfortunately, we are losing them. Some older forecasts were showing that until 2050s, the population of Republic of Moldova will decrease by over a million people, that means we will lose around 1/3 (one third) of the state’s inhabitants, but if we look at the most recent movements, we can clearly see that the demographic loss will happen much earlier – in one or two decades. The outlook is absolutely catastrophic.
All these processes are jeopardizing not only the preservation of the gene pool of the country but also further economic development. The number of employees in the real sector of the economy is twice as less than the number of pensioners and the expenses for the maintenance of the state apparatus are tremendous. What should we do in this case? Should we invite foreign immigrants in our country to maintain the economy and the demography? If we decide to go this way, in a couple of decades the majority of the country will be populated by immigrants only.
I think that we must mobilize very seriously to address the demographic challenge. Saving our nation – this should be the fundamental mission of any government from Chisinau, and the concern of academia and civil society that should always remind the governors about the danger of the demographic dissolution of the country.
All our socio-economic, educational, political and geo-political actions must have the demographic recovery of the population as a major objective, as well as the substantial diminishing of the emigration rate. If we will not keep the integrity of the nation, our state project may become useless in the long run.
It is clear that the demographic situation that has occurred in our country is generated by the negative processes recorded in the social – economic main areas. In all these years we didn’t manage to build a solid state that will give its citizens a chance to feel protected. We are far from having a society with an authentic democracy.
There are also drastic changes within the structure of a family. Despite the call of continuity of our people thru marriage, an increasing number of couples are divorcing. Over the past year, almost 20 thousand couples have united their destinies, and around 9 thousand families have broken apart. Again the background of these phenomena, a large number of people is getting remarried and as a result, a lot of children get to live with step parents.
In addition to that, new trends of couples’ cohabitating are getting remarked, couples tend to live together without an official marriage or they live in different countries for migration reasons, therefore the number of single – parent families and the number of children that live by themselves is growing.
According to the most recent estimates, every 5th child from Republic of Moldova has one or both parents working abroad.
In spite of the permanent connection between kids and their parents, a lot of them don’t have an appropriate care and are lacking in moral support. In particular, the absence of surveillance from the parents’ side is one of the factors with negative influence upon the juvenile behavior.
At the same time, many children are suffering from an economic well – being point of view. Nowadays, poverty remains a complex social issue and the depth of the shortcomings in which children are growing is unacceptable.
The highest level of poverty (27%), which is recorded amongst women with three or more children, is 2,9 times bigger than in families with a single child (9.3%) and it’s 2,7 times bigger than in families without children (10,2%).
All these socio-economic transformations have a negative effect not only for families themselves but for the public authorities at all levels.
All decision-makers need to be aware about the risk of the situation and to implement efficient social policies, in order to increase the resilience of families in the context of the economic crisis, migration, lack of opportunities and corruption.
The Presidency has assumed such responsibility. As you know, thru a presidential decree, I declared the year 2019 as being The Year of the Family. Therefore, to promote, to protect and to support the family integrity, a comprehensive national program will be launched, and its purpose will be to consolidate healthy family relationships.
Special attention will be paid to social measures by developing a program to support young families looking to move into a new home; to relaunch the presidential initiative on the payment of the maternal capital by increasing the amount of the single allowance at birth, for the first child – 15 000 lei, for the second child – 20 000 lei and for the third child – 30 000 lei.
Another initiative will be dedicated to honor the long-lasting couples, as being symbols of wisdom, fidelity and respect among spouses. As a sign of profound respect, every week, representatives of the Administration of the President will visit couples celebrating their jubilee of 50, 60 and 70 years since the marriage registration.
Also, this year we will continue the national support projects implemented in the schooling process by Charity fond of the First Lady “Din Suflet”. Between 2017 and 2018, 33,000 schoolbags, equipped with necessary requisites, were offered to first graders and this year we will extend our assistance for second and third graders as well. The national helping program for kindergartens, where over 350 kindergartens have benefited from the logistic or material support requested so far, will also be extended. This year another 250 kindergartens will receive support.
Particular attention will be paid to the program that is promoting a healthy lifestyle, mostly through the renovation and construction of sports complexes.
I strongly believe the future of the Republic of Moldova and the continuity of the Moldovan people depends on the efficiency of each of us and on the wisdom we will be putting into our actions to redress the demographic situation in the country and to strengthen the institution of the family. The Year of the Family, through its events, will provide the needed incentive for the issues mentioned above.
Thank you for your attention!