Orban tries to encourage Hungarian childbirth

Orban tries to encourage Hungarian childbirth

Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has promised to boost financial aid and subsidies for families to boost the population.

The policies in Orban’s annual state of the nation speech were aimed to encourage women to have more children and reverse Hungary’s population decline.

The Hungarian population is falling by 32,000 a year and Hungary’s women have fewer children than the EU average.

One policy included a lifetime income tax exemption for women with at least four children.

Orban, who was elected to a third consecutive term as prime minister in April 2018, said the policies were “Hungary’s answer” to population decline, rather than immigration, which he said led to the “virus of terrorism”, repeating his claim that Brussels wanted to fill the EU with migrants.

He said immigration would create “mixed populations” where Muslims would eventually dominate, making Christians a minority. Those who “decide for immigration and migrants for whatever reason, in reality, are creating mixed-race nations”, Orban said.

Of Brussels, Orban added: “For every missing child there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine.

“Hungarian people think differently. We do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children.”

Hungarians were faced with “those who would wipe out our traditions and nation states”, Orban said, adding: “Historic traditions in immigrant countries come to an end … in such countries Christian-Muslim worlds are created with continually shrinking Christian proportions.”

Other incentives announced included the boosting of a subsidised home loan programme for families with two children or more and subsidies for car purchases. A subsidy of 2.5 million forints (US$8,825) towards the cost of a seven-seat vehicle for parents with three or more children.

A low-interest loan scheme of 10 million forints (US$35,300) for women under 40 who are marrying for the first time was also unveiled.

This month Hungary became the first EU member state to be designated as only “partly free” in an annual study of democratic freedoms, underlining the impact of Orban’s populism.

The erosion of democracy under Orban constitutes “the most dramatic decline ever charted” within the bloc, said Freedom House, a US-based think-tank, in its annual Freedom in the World report. All other 27 EU members are categorised as “free”.

Hungary rejected the categorisation, saying Freedom House was part of the “empire” of George Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire philanthropist, although most of the NGO’s funding comes from the US government.

 

The recapture Buda castle in 1686. Benczúr Gyula (1896). Hungary today has a tiny Muslim community. Picture credit: Wikimedia

 

 

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