A Family Affairs Cabinet has been formed. The agenda of its first meeting featured the establishment of a demography policy institute under the name of sociologist Mária Kopp and a variety of family support measures, the Minister of Human Capacities and the Minister of State for Family, Youth and International Affairs said at a press conference held after the meeting.

Zoltán Balog said: children are the number one priority for the Government, and it therefore treats the promotion of families as a priority issue. The Family Affairs Cabinet has been formed as part of this work which will meet with monthly regularity as expected, and will prepare proposals and recommendations for the Government. It will, however, not adopt decisions.

By his account, at the first meeting they reviewed the family support measures which have already been introduced as well as those to be implemented in the future. They spoke about raising the family tax benefits of families with two children by another five thousand forints next year, the extension of the maternity leave of degree-holders to two years, and the maternity support and baby bonds that will also be available as of 2018 in the case of Hungarian children born abroad.

DownloadFotó: Bartos Gyula/EMMI

In the context of the latter, he remarked that these benefits may be applied for in the six months following the births of children, meaning that children born after July 2017 will also be eligible, and they may be requested in Slovakia and Ukraine upon the presentation of Hungarian cards.

The Minister further said that in the case of conventional crèches, the percentage of children that may be admitted from outside their catchment areas will increase from 15 per cent to 25 per cent, while in the case of mini-crèches to 50 per cent.

DownloadFotó: Bartos Gyula/EMMI

Katalin Novák announced that the Kopp Mária Institute for Demography and Families will come into being as of 1 December. The Institute will conduct research into family policy and demographic issues, thereby assisting the adoption of decisions at a governmental level.

The Institute may additionally facilitate the international presentation of the model followed by Hungary which seeks to rely on its internal resources – families –, rather than substituting for demographic losses by resorting to external resources.

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The Minister of State also spoke about the already submitted bill on providing old-age support for parents nursing their children on a long-term basis. Pursuant to the proposed legislation, parents caring for their severely ill children for minimum 20 years will receive a monthly pension supplement of HUF 50 thousand as of 2018. This measure will concern approximately 900 to 1,000 persons, she added.

(Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI)