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The prime minister announced visionary measures to turn around the falling birth rate

Friday, May 26, 2017

At a demographics forum held on the first day of the World Congress of Families in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared that the Government is continuing to increase the level of family tax benefits, and “families with two children are at the focus of this increase”. Mr. Orbán announced details of a new action plan – adopted in the previous day’s Cabinet meeting – to encourage the birth of more children.

The essence of the Governments’ decision is that any family with three or more children and with a mortgage on their home will be able to deduct one million forints from their debt after the birth of their third child, and a further one million forints after the birth of each subsequent child. The costs of this will be borne by the state, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister stressed that “2018 will be the year of families”.

“As part of the programme, young women with two children and who have student loans to repay will have 50 per cent of their loans written off, while student loans owed by women with two or more children will be written off entirely”, he explained.

The Prime Minister also announced that graduates’ period of eligibility for childcare allowance (GYED) will be extended by one year, meaning that for university students also it will be extended to two years.

Mr. Orbán said that the Government is embarking on an “unprecedented” nursery school development programme: wherever families live, nursery schools will be built, or existing ones will be renovated if necessary.

He announced that the family support system would also be “cautiously” opened up to Hungarians living or working abroad; from next year they too will be eligible to receive maternity support after having children, and throughout the Carpathian Basin “baby bonds” will be made available.

The Prime Minister also announced that a research institute will be established, “summoning up” the spirit of Mária Kopp, to provide suitable intellectual munition to help families, to provide the foundations for family policy and to ensure a better understanding of the global situation.

Mr. Orbán stressed that the intellectual munition required to achieve a turnaround in European demographics is already available. He added that “What we lack in Europe today is a good example, suitable and courageous government practices; today Hungary would like to contribute to Europe’s success by providing such an example”.

The birth rate must be increased to 2.1 per cent by 2030

“The birth rate in Hungary must be increased to 2.1 per cent by 2030”, the Prime Minister said, adding that the restoration of natural reproduction levels was not just one of the most important national issues, but “the national issue”, and not a European issue, but “the European issue”.

“We need a population turnaround and as many children as possible must be born, because if there are children, there is a future”, the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Orbán recalled that in less than forty years some one million people in Hungary had “disappeared”, and that “this is more than the total losses we suffered in the Second World War”

“A besieged Europe” has only received “a moment of respite”

Mr. Orbán also said that a political and ideological transformation is under way in Europe; people have revolted and have forced changes to the EU’s immigration policy, but “a besieged Europe” has only received “a moment of respite” to assess the damage, stop the gaps, reinforce its crumbling walls, reorganise its politics and use the experience to restore some order. “The worst is yet to come”, he said.

“Because while Europe is old, rich and weak, that part of the world which in recent years has sent out waves of people is young, poor and strong”, the Prime Minister explained. It is only a matter of time and political expedience before “once again the millions of people who are ready to set out for Europe will be channelled in”, he said.

In Brussels, however, debate on migration is “a prisoner of political correctness”, he said, and “Anyone who points out the relationship between immigration and terrorism, and the cultural conflict between immigrants and locals, is branded an extremist”.

In Europe two standpoints are at odds with each other

According to Mr. Orbán, countless numbers of people on the continent are asking how many terrorist attacks such as those in Paris, Brussels, Berlin or Manchester must happen before we finally gather our strength and stand ready to defend ourselves. “Hungary is fully behind Great Britain, and we shall doing everything in our power to ensure the security of Europe’s future”, Mr. Orbán declared.

“Hungary will be increasing its defence of the European Union’s southern border, and will never allow entry to anyone who is even faintly suspected of wanting to attack our families and children”, he stated, declaring that “Hungary will protect its families under all circumstances – no matter how strong the headwind from Brussels”.

The Prime Minister explained that in Europe there are currently two standpoints at odds with each other: there are those who want to handle their demographic problems through immigration; and the Central European and Hungarian standpoint is that we must handle demographic problems ourselves, through our own spiritual renewal, while relying on our own resources and mobilising our own reserves. “Stopping illegal immigration is just one of the elements in the ongoing battle for the future of Europe, and this struggle is only worth fighting if we can back it up by creating a family policy that restores natural reproduction levels on the continent”, he pointed out.

Hungary also shares these demographic problems, “we are also in bad shape”, and the country requires a huge turnaround to achieve an ideal state of affairs in which it is capable of sustaining itself, the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Orbán said that, in his opinion, in Europe today there are many countries that enjoy enviable standards of living, but which are grappling with major demographic problems. “Because if the family does not occupy first place in the hearts of young people, then despite economic power and outstanding indices, no progress will be achieved”, he explained.

“In Central Europe we are relatively lucky, because for young people marriage and starting a family is still the benchmark”, he said. “But when plans enter the arena of reality, some of the children they intended to have are not in fact born, and so we need a policy that removes these barriers from young people’s paths”, he declared, adding that “the more support we provide for families, the more children will be born”.

(MTI)


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