France to offer young people fertility checks to combat falling birth rates

France to offer young people fertility checks to combat falling birth rates

In a video broadcast by Elle, Mr Macron – who has no children, although his wife Brigitte has three from her first marriage – also suggested opening a “debate” on the introduction of a possible “duty to visit” for fathers in single-parent families where women are the main carers.

“We’ve allowed men to exonerate themselves from all parental duties,” he said, while pointing out that 90 per cent of youths involved in riots in France last July “came from either child welfare or single-parent families”.

Mr Macron added: “When there is a father, he must exercise all his duties and the mother, when she is in that situation, must be able to demand regular visits.” 

He said fathers should, for example, take part in parent-teacher meetings and be a “stakeholder” in the child’s education.

The president stressed: “It’s a duty to be a parent, and it’s a duty that doesn’t end with divorce or separation”, and said parents must “both exercise their responsibilities”.

He added: “Even for the child, it’s better … a child who never sees his father is a child who feels abandoned” and “whose emotional and educational development is not the same”.

Meanwhile, the French president also insisted that he had “no complacency” towards actor Gérard Depardieu, who is facing rape charges. He said he had “never defended an aggressor against victims”.

Mr Macron sparked uproar in December after he defended the actor as innocent until proven guilty and insinuated that he was the victim of a “manhunt”.

“He’s an immense actor, a genius of his art,” he added. “He makes France proud.”

Mr Macron told Elle: “My priority is and always has been, protecting victims, and that also applies to the Depardieu case.”

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