macron baby
© Philippe Lopez/Reuters
That's part of the problem right there. If you keep breaking traditional gender roles and norms in the name of 'sexual liberation', eventually you'll liberate yourself to death.
A three-year fall in the birth rate in France is threatening its title as Europe's most fertile nation, and government policies are being blamed.

France has prided itself on policies promoting a high level of childbirth since the 1960s, and particularly in the past 20 years when populations in Europe have aged and shrunk.

"Is this the end of the French exception?" wondered Le Monde after the national statistical office released figures showing that the birth rate, which began falling in 2015, fell another 2.1 per cent last year to an average of 1.88 children per woman compared with 2.0 in 2014. The rate for Britain last year was 1.87.

The statistics office said the numbers were a delayed reaction to the financial crisis in 2008 because generous social and family benefits had cushioned a demographic impact noticed far earlier elsewhere in Europe. France has taken longer to recover than its neighbours.

Some commentators blamed the decline on cuts in allowances, a reduction in tax advantages for families and falling subsidies for childcare that were imposed by the last government and are continuing under President Macron.

"It's obvious people aren't able to produce children when the government is making it too expensive for them," Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the radical left France Unbowed party, said.

Comment: Yes, but the govt makes it too expensive for them... by issuing more and more taxes needed to pay for the childcare system because women who would otherwise become mothers are having to work instead - and very often, in the end, in jobs that essentially amount to looking after other mothers' children. It's not that women today are 'free' to take up careers; they have to work so that they contribute taxes. So the childcare subsidies aren't the problem; the fact that endless taxes have to be levied to pay for the subsidies is the problem. A little bit of this here and there is fine; but Europe has gone WAY too far with it.

Gérard-François Dumont, a demography professor at Sorbonne University, said: "For 40 years, changes in the birth rate have followed governmental policies. The difficulties of reconciling family life and professional life are greater."

Comment: Exactly. In the long-run, you can't have both.

Life expectancy has risen to 85 for women, the highest in Europe, and 78.7 for men. The population is 67.2 million, keeping France as the second most populous EU state after Germany.