Supporting jobs, families and innovation are Hungary’s recipe for addressing social challenges faced by the European Union, Katalin Novák, the minister in charge of family affairs, said in Porto on Thursday.
Novák held talks with Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s labour, solidarity and social security minster, in the city hosting an EU summit focusing on social affairs on Friday and Saturday.
Novák told Hungarian public media that she will present “the Hungarian model”, which offered a solid family support policy and an employment-focused economic policy, as solutions to welfare challenges such as reducing poverty in general and child poverty in particular.
“I will highlight Hungary’s solution … how a country can respond innovatively to new challenges while strongly preserving the unity of the family,” Novák said, noting Hungary’s efforts to preserve and create jobs.
Meanwhile, Novák warned that Hungary would staunchly defend its sovereignty when it came to certain proposals such as offering benefits to migrants in countries which have seen an increase in their numbers.
She also said Hungary rejected a unified EU tax regime which would require hiking taxes. The minister highlighted Hungary’s low corporate tax rate, low tax on family benefits, and its exemption of under-25s from paying personal income tax among other policies.
Novák said the Portuguese minister was intrigued by the success of Hungary’s family support policies: while spending 5 percent of its economic output on family support, Hungary has simultaneously maintained its competitiveness, she said. Also the employment of women in Hungary has increased at the second highest rate in the bloc over the past 10 years.
“This all proves that family and employment can go together,” she said.
Novák insisted that Portugal’s approach differed fundamentally from Hungary’s, as the former favoured welfare while Hungary put the emphasis on job-creation and ensuring that everyone able to work for a decent living had the chance to do so and could raise their children from their earnings with the help of various government support mechanisms.
The minister insisted that Portugal lacked a strong family policy or family support at national level. She added that the Portuguese had fewer marriages and were less enthusiastic about bringing children into the world. Instead, the country regarded migration as a solution to demographic problems, she added, instead of promoting child-bearing like the Hungarian government.