Countries of the Visegrád Group “see it as their mission to set an example to Europe in terms of demography”, Katalin Novák, Hungary’s minister without portfolio in charge of family affairs, said on Thursday.
Speaking at an online conference attended by her Slovak, Czech, and Polish counterparts, Novák said that the four countries “refuse to give up their future and culture”.
No European country sees a sufficient number of births, and “though their population is growing, that growth comes from mass immigration,” she insisted.
“We, central European countries, will demonstrate that development could be based on internal resources, that we can cope with the demographic crisis and become a prosperous, young region within Europe,” the minister said. She said it was important for the group to preserve the composition of their population. “Ensuring growth while preserving culture, history, and traditions will be one of the most important challenges in the next decades,” she said.
Novák said that in the past ten years the fertility rate had improved in all four countries, adding that she was proud of that ratio growing the fastest in the region. She also said that in the past 10 years the number of marriages had doubled and the number of divorces fell by 30 percent.
The Hungarian government considers subsidies to families as an investment, Novak said, adding that the amount used for that purpose was 2.5 times as much as in 2010, currently nearly 5 percent of GDP.
Family subsidies are tied to employment, she said, adding that the government also encouraged any initiative promoting a family-friendly approach.
This year, the government has also launched “the largest first home buyer scheme in Hungary’s history” aimed at ensuring that “everybody should have a decent home of their own to expect and then raise their children”, Novák said.