• The family in crisis
  • Afternoon conference
  • 7 December, 2023
  • ACE Events, Brussels


MCC Brussels is delighted to announce that our next conference will examine "The family in crisis" which will take place on December 7 in Central Brussels. Join experts, commentators and politicians to tackle this foundational issue for Western civilisation.

Family life across Europe is beset by crises. Politicians insist that parents are failing to raise their children responsibly, media reports lament family breakdown and the loss of authority, and the work of NGOs and supranational organisations disparages the ‘traditional’ family as the site of violence, oppression and intolerance. 

Instead of a focus on the family, policymakers increasingly talk of the plural: families. This is designed to indicate that the traditional form of forming families and raising children is simply one option among many valid alternatives. The consequence is that the civilisational link between parents, children and society is thrown into question. 

How should we understand the problems facing family life today? Some commentators insist the problem is one of selfishness and individualism – people are too lazy or self-involved to want children. Others insist the problem is material, with individuals struggling too much with ‘cost of living’ issues to consider starting families. Some others insist that modern life has left us psychological damaged and alienated from each other. As a result, a myriad of solutions are presented: educational campaigns to root out ‘backward’ attitudes; direct payments to support those who have children; psychological services to treat those ‘damaged’ by modern life; or even bans on social media to draw kids and parents away from their phones and towards each other. Often left out of these discussions are answers to the questions: What is family life? What is it for? Why should we value it? 

This conference will aim to make some progress on these questions, and inject into discussions about the family a political and cultural perspective on the roots of its problems.


To read more about the themes and ideas we will examine in this conference, please read this introductory essay by our executive director Professor Frank Furedi. Read now.


  • Kristína Ballová, communications officer, Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE)
  • Margarita de la Pisa Carrión MEP
  • Dr Lukács Éva Gellérné, assistant Professor in Law, ELTE University
  • Ladislav Ilčić, MEP
  • Kinga Joó, vice president, National Association of Large Families (Hungary)
  • Rob Lemeire, author, 12 Rules for Parenting with Authority
  • Patricia Santos, editor in chief, El Debate
  • David Quinn, journalist and commentator; columnist, Sunday Independent, Irish Catholic


From 13.30





Panel 1: The cultural challenges to family life: What is the problem?

This panel will examine what the major challenges are that threaten family life today. 

Throughout most of the modern era, the idea that the family, in its conventional nuclear form, which served as a foundational institution of society in the West, was rarely challenged. Yet today, this institution and the ideals associated with it are frequently decried and described as outdated, discriminatory, and oppressive. In addition to the hostility towards the ‘traditional’ family, many cultural problems are discussed as standing in the way of organic and successful family life: demographic challenges, the widening gap between the generations, the crisis of adult authority, and the takeover of the education system by progressive propaganda. 

But at the heart of the problem seems to be a lack of clarity and confidence towards the conduct of parent and child relations. Does parenthood enjoy the same cultural validation that it once did? Do adults feel confident in the prospects of starting a family? Why do experts and policymakers seem intent on encroaching on family life? 

  • Kristína Ballová, communications officer, Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE)
  • David Quinn, journalist and commentator; columnist, Sunday Independent, Irish Catholic
  • Patricia Santos, editor in chief, El Debate




Panel 2: Resisting the colonisation of family life: How do we respond?

At the level of policy discussions, there are no end to proposals for government intervention to support family life. Some of these take the form of policies to support couples wishing to have children – an answer to the demographic crisis. Some of these take the form of campaigns to re-educate the public about what family life means in the 21st Century – an attempt to mainstream different gender identities and family forms. 

But perhaps what is needed is a broader political and cultural movement against the endless intervention in family life by ‘experts’ of all kinds. Support for families is certainly welcome, but where do we draw the line between supporting families and intervening in private life? 

This panel will examine what we should do – as parents, relatives or citizens – to revive family life and preserve the essential features of the family against their disintegration.


  • Margarita de la Pisa Carrión, MEP, Vox (ECR)
  • Kinga Joó, vice president, National Association of Large Families (Hungary)
  • Rob Lemeire, author, 12 Rules for Parenting with Authority
  • Ashley Frawley, MCC Brussels




Keynote: The problem of socialisation

  • Professor Frank Furedi
  • Reply from: Ladislav Ilčić, MEP


Conference reception

Register here to reserve your place.