Economic development should go hand in hand with providing support for families, Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog told a panel discussion of his Visegrád Four counterparts held within a conference dubbed “Strong families for a strong Europe” in Budapest on Wednesday.
Balog said that “now that central Europe has become the engine driving European development it is crucial that families should benefit from that development”. The minister also said that while increasing the number of births is important, having children “in a responsible way” is also crucial. He added that “an increase in the appreciation and reputation of marriage has been the greatest achievement of recent years”.
Concerning the economy, Balog noted that low wages greatly contributed to Hungary being an attractive destination for investors. He insisted that “since low wages support competitiveness, wages cannot be increased quickly” but other conditions, such as accommodation, must be improved, and mentioned, for example, the government’s first home buyer programme.
Elzbieta Rafalska, Poland’s family and labour minister, said that
demographic problems cannot be resolved through immigration but a higher number of births, and added that her government ensures “unconditional” support to all families.
She mentioned Hungary’s family policy as a reference, and said that Poland has “learnt a lot” from the Hungarian government.
Jana Hanzlíková, Czech deputy minister for social policy, talked about an ageing Czech society, and said that her government was making efforts to ensure that “children grow up in well-functioning families” in which the parents can match work and private life.
Slovakia’s Boris Ondrus, state secretary for labour and welfare, said that running efficient family support mechanisms was a priority for his government, with special regard to providing incentives for young people to have children. The Slovak measures are aimed at ensuring that “having children does not result in a deficit in the family budget”, he said.
featured image: mti