Budapest, May 25 (MTI) – Europe is undergoing political and intellectual change; its citizens have revolted and are forcing changes to migration policies, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his opening address to the International Family Summit on Thursday. The government will further increase family tax benefits, with two-child families being the focal point of the scheme, he said.
Orbán outlined an action plan designed to encourage couples to have children, saying that 2018 would be “the year of families”.
He announced that the government would pay off 1 million forints (EUR 3,200) of families’ mortgages for every third and subsequent child they have.
As part of the scheme, the government will forgive half of the student loan debt of young women with two children and all of the student loan debt of those with three or more children, he said.
Women with higher education degrees who receive child support benefits will be eligible for them for an extra year, up until their child’s second birthday.
He said the government would launch a “never-before-seen” creche development scheme which will see new creches built “in every area with families”, while existing creches will be renovated if necessary.
Hungarians living abroad will also become eligible for maternity allowances next year and Hungarians everywhere in the Carpathian Basin will have the opportunity to acquire “baby bonds”, he said.
Orbán announced that the government would set up a research centre with a view to aiding families, establishing a basis for “family policy philosophy” and understanding demographic conditions in Europe and around the world.
The prime minister said Hungary would target raising its birth rate to 2.1 percent by 2030. “If there are children, there is a future,” Orbán said.
He said the population had declined by some one million people within less than 40 years, which he said was more than the losses the country had suffered in the second world war.
On another subject, Orbán said Europe was undergoing political and intellectual change, adding that its citizens had revolted and were forcing changes to migration policies. But Europe has only been given “a little time to take a breather” and “reshape its policies”, he said, adding that the most difficult times were yet to come for the continent.
Orbán said Europe was “old, rich and weak”, while the part of the world from where “masses of people” had fled over the past few years was “young, poor and strong”.
He said it was only a matter of time and political opportunity before these countries would “channel millions more people” to Europe.
On another subject, the prime minister said Hungary was fully committed to its support for the UK, adding that Hungary would do its utmost to make sure Europe’s future was secure.
He said there were “countless” Europeans wondering how many terrorist attacks similar to the ones seen in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Manchester seen over the past two years needed to occur in order for Europe to commit to protecting itself.
Hungary will bolster the protection of its southern borders and will not let in anyone of whom there is the slightest suspicion “that they intend to attack our families or children”, Orbán said.