Budapest, November 5 (MTI) – The European Union cannot afford to build a future based on immigrants rather than on families, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in his opening address to the Budapest Demography Forum on Thursday.

Communities should be sustainable without using external sources, Orban said, adding that “those that expect help from others will sooner or later pay a price” and suggested that the migrants “flooding Europe” will not resolve the continent’s economic or demographic problems overnight.

The prime minister said that even though Europe was “the most ageing continent”, families do not get sufficient focus in European policies because that subject is “not pc”.

“We want to restore families to the focus of European politics,” Orban said, and warned that “Europe’s civilisation and culture are at stake”.

One crucial question revolves around who will be Europe’s inhabitants in the future, Orban said. “It would be worthwhile talking about that seriously; still, some other subjects get a lot more time, focus, energy and money,” Orban said, mentioning disputes around gender and gay marriages, for example. Those subjects are “nice” and “important” but of secondary importance, he said, insisting that they would not contribute to resolving Europe’s economic or social problems.

The Hungarian government is going to great lengths to make it clear that supporting families does not equal curbing freedoms; “that conflation is a cunning trick which must be revealed so that we can honestly support the family and our values,” Orban said.

The majority of Hungarians think that children are a blessing for the family and society, Orban said, arguing that “there is no future without children and no security for the elderly”.

Hungary’s family-friendly policies can serve as a model for the rest of the European Union, Ildiko Pelcz Gall, an MEP for Fidesz, said at the forum. She said while some saw migration as the solution to the demographic crisis, Hungary believed in strengthening families as a way of preventing Europe’s ageing.

Addressing the conference, UK minister without a portfolio Robert Halfon said politics must concentrate on supporting families to secure a better future for children and the whole community.

A message from Pope Francis was conveyed by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family. He said the Pope expressed solidarity towards participants of the forum and urged them to think about how families can be supported, especially as regards the challenges faced by young people when they want to start a family or are already raising children. Although family is very important in life and is in the centre of human development, it is in decline in Europe and currently this is the biggest problem, Paglia said, conveying the Pope’s message.

In a message read out by Polish deputy state secretary Wojciech Kolarski, Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, urged a comprehensive strategy focusing on support for families to tackle the demographic challenges Europe is facing.

Jan Figel, Vice-President of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, said what was good for families was good for Europe.

Photo: MTI


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