“demographic winter” was threatening the developed world as well as Hungary,
Addressing the summit, Aleksandar Vucic, the Serbian president, said that the issue of demography was becoming the most important political question as it concerns “our survival”. The Serbian government had learnt a lot from the previous demographic summit and introduced several measures modelled on the Hungarian system, he said. In the context of social media and its influence on the public, Vucic said that “liberal political Marxism” enticed people to pay attention to things that change a part of their lives but at the same time lead them to lose another part of it.
Vucic also touched on the topic of the rule of law, which he said had become an issue that could be used to bring “disobedient” countries into line. He said the next central topic would be the fight against climate change, which both Serbia and Hungary considered important.
“But is it really more important than demographic issues?
Is it really more important than the future of our countries, the future of our nations?”
Vucic said Europe had been contributing less and less to global economic growth in recent decades, adding that within a few decades Nigeria alone would have a larger population than the European Union or the United States. “It is high time to act,” he said. Slovenian Prime Minister Janes Jansa called population decline an enormous problem affecting the future which cannot be ignored. “The European Union is currently debating the future of Europe and … this gathering today is one of the most important pieces of this debate,” he told the summit. Jansa noted that the birth rate in Europe had dropped by 40-70 percent since the 1950s and 17 out of the 27 EU member states had a negative birth rate which had worsened during the Covid crisis.
“We need bold proposals, some kind of a European programme to put the family first,”
he said. Milorad Dodik, the Serbian member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s presidential troika, said Europe needed to favour the family over migration. Europe needs to remain stable not just economically but also in the area of demography, he said, adding that this required supporting families. Dodik praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s family policies and expressed hope that they would be adopted by more and more countries in Europe.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Europe needed to increase its birth rate in order to halt its population decline. He said the coronavirus pandemic had proven that nation states built on families were irreplacable. Although the Czech Republic has seen an increase in its birth rate in recent years, it
still has a ways to go to reach the 2.1 fertility rate necessary to maintain its population,
he said. Babis criticised the argument that having fewer children would reduce one’s carbon footprint, saying it was “absurd” not to have children in the interest of climate protection.