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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 17:10 GMT
Poland launches fertility drive
By Adam Easton
BBC News, Warsaw

Poland anti-abortion demo
Poland is perhaps the most Catholic country in Europe
The Polish government has announced that it plans to spend up to $6bn (3.1bn) over the next seven years to support families.

According to figures released this week, Poland has the lowest fertility rate in the European Union.

Some estimates suggest there will be four million fewer Poles by the year 2030, if the current trend of falling birthrates continues.

Poland is perhaps the most Catholic country in Europe.

More than a half of the people here go to church every Sunday and 70% say family and children are the most important things in life.

Incentives

But the profound changes in Polish society after the fall of Communism have caused family-oriented Poles to have fewer babies.

Announcing the pro-family programme, deputy labour minister Joanna Kluzik Rostkowska said one of the main problems is that Polish women face discrimination in the workplace.

According to a World Bank survey, 62% of women here fear they will lose their jobs if they have children.

The minister announced plans to increase maternity leave, extend opening hours for kindergartens and introduce tax breaks for families with children.

She said France started its pro-family policy 15 years ago. It now has the highest fertility rate in the EU.


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