Illustration (Photo: Keith Mapeki / Unsplash)
Illustration (Photo: Keith Mapeki / Unsplash)

Spain’s Big Problem: The Birth Rate – An Interview

Spain has many problems, but one of the biggest is its birth rate. Spain’s birth rate his the lowest in the entire European Union, with only 1.13 percent of women of childbearing age. This means that the fertility rate for Spanish women is between 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent if you don’t count the immigrants. Few politicians have addressed this issue and Vox seems to be the only party that has put a spotlight on it, proposing a plan and measures to address the problem. Vox politician Francisco Contreras is one of the most knowledgeable and vocal about this issue. He is a professor of philosophy of law at the University of Seville and a member of the Spanish Congress of Deputies for Vox.

Spain has the lowest fertility rate in the European Union. What do you think has been the main reason for reaching this point?

Having historically been a bastion of Catholicism, the pendulum swing of Spanish society towards “progressive” and liberal values has been even more intense than in other Western countries. We have gone from one extreme to the other. The marriage rate, for example, has fallen by 40 percent in just 25 years (and if people no longer marry, they do not have children either).

The natural family (father-mother-children) looks stale and gets bad press.

The Church has not dared to speak about sexual and family morality since the post-Council. There has been practically no intellectual right wing willing to clearly defend family values.

The left has exercised an overwhelming cultural hegemony for more than 40 years.

Do you think feminism and the LGBTQ lobby may have contributed to the spread of the idea of not having children?

Undoubtedly. Feminism – especially since the “second wave” inaugurated by Simone de Beauvoir – has always conceived motherhood as a woman’s servitude to the species, and also as the great burden that prevents her from competing on equal terms with men.

Feminism presents man as the rival and oppressor of woman; therefore, in a society imbued with feminism, the formation of stable families will be more unlikely.

Moreover, “gender-based violence” laws – which virtually eliminate the presumption of innocence – leave men at the mercy of possible unfounded accusations, further fueling mistrust between the sexes.

Have the politics of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and the People’s Party (PP) contributed to the birth rate problem?

Yes, by passing laws such as those on “express divorce”, artificial insemination of women without a male partner, LGBTQ rights, “gender violence”, abortion, etc., PSOE and PP have contributed jointly to the blurring of the natural family and the consequent collapse of the birth rate. Most of these laws were passed by the PSOE, but preserved and consolidated by the PP which, for its part, has been a pioneer – for example, in the domain of LGBTQ rights – in some regional governments.

Most parties are in favor of mass immigration to save pensions and address the birth rate problem, do you think this is a mistake?

Yes. Mass immigration is not the right answer to the Western demographic winter. The average immigrant has far lower academic and professional qualifications than the average European: his or her contribution will not save pensions or, more generally, the welfare state. It is known that, in Spain, the unemployment rate of foreign residents is 50 percent higher than that of Spaniards. On the other hand, massive immigration from non-Western cultures will raise the problems of unassimilability, ghettos and ethnic tension that are already becoming apparent in so many European cities.

What does Vox propose to reverse this situation?

Vox proposes the repeal of all laws on feminism, “gender violence”, and LGBTQ rights, as well as a substantial increase in direct aid and tax breaks for families with children. Also, awareness campaigns on the demographic winter and guarantee of the right to life (as opposed to abortion and euthanasia laws).

Castilla y León is governed by the PP together with Vox, what measures have been taken there? 

Since the entry of VOX in the regional government, several pro-family and pro-birth measures have been adopted. For example, the approval of a Bono Nacimiento that is given to each family that has a child, with ascending amounts ranging from a maximum of 1500 euros if it is the first child to a maximum of 2500 if it is the third or more, and that must be invested in childcare products, clothing and baby food, etc. There is also the Conciliamos Program, which offers recreational activities for children on dates that are working days but not school days, thus posing a problem for working parents in terms of conciliation.

In January of this year  Juan García-Gallardo of VOX announced an agreement with the PP to approve a protocol of action for women requesting abortion, which would include the offer to listen to the fetal heartbeat. Faced with a furious reaction from the left and the woke press, the PP backtracked, maintaining that the agreement was never signed. The protocol could not be implemented, but it gives clues to the fact that VOX will also try, when it is strong enough, to reduce the number of abortions by this and other means.

Juan Garcia-Gallardo has repeatedly expressed his affinity with Hungary and the family policies taken by the Orbán administration. Do you support it as well? Is it generally supported by Vox?

Although there may be disagreements with the Orbán government in other fields – for example, the Russo-Ukrainian war –, when it comes to family and birth policy, Hungary is undoubtedly a model of success.

This is generally acknowledged in Vox, whose leaders often allude to Orbán’s example as a demonstration that the demographic winter can be fought by revitalizing the national birth rate, rather than by mass immigration.

Sergio Velasco
Sergio Velasco is a Spanish political scientist, analyst and political commentator. He is the founder of Filosofia Política, a social media-based enterprise where he details and offers his take on Spanish, Hungarian and Polish political developments. A columnist in Hungarian and Spanish press, he is often invited on television to share his thoughts with the viewers.

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