The future of Hungary lies in Hungarian children, and supporting children and people raising children is a priority goal, Katalin Novák said on Kossuth Radio’s programme “Sunday Paper” (Vasárnapi újság).

The Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Human Capacities who was interviewed about the national consultation on family affairs said they are asking for the people’s opinions in order to seek confirmation for the government’s intentions. She observed that opposition Members of Parliament, too, are free to complete the consultation questionnaires, but “they are not in large enough numbers” for this to shake the government’s commitment.

She stressed that they expect the consultation to answer the question of what the large majority of people think about the most important issues concerning families as well as about the “most crucial European issue” posed by demographic problems and the pressure of migration that is emerging parallel with them. Whether, she continued, they regard the mass resettlement of people as a solution to demographic problems, or they say that these problems must be resolved fundamentally through internal resources, the births of children must be promoted and families raising children must be appreciated.

The Minister of State indicated that the genre of the national consultation fundamentally means that if there is a very important issue which could determine the fate of the nation for decades, it is well worth asking the people for their opinions. There are ten yes-no questions in the consultation which may be suitable for designating the basic directions both on general and more specific issues.

She also highlighted that today those who decide to have children are in a better financial situation: it poses less of a financial or poverty risk if someone decides to have several children than it did in 2010 when they came into power. She drew attention to the fact that all demographic indicators have changed for the better, and for twenty years birth rates in Hungary have not been as high as they are today. Mrs Novák said population decline is on the decrease, but it is nonetheless important to stress that “our population is still declining (…), we still have not solved these European-level problems”.

Regarding two-thirds support, she said that starting a family is a decision for life, and therefore it would be important to put into place some kind of high-level statutory protection which guarantees that we can prevent the recurrence of what happened between 2002 and 2010. At the time, the socialist governments terminated, inter alia, the first home programme and the family tax benefit, and also wanted to levy a tax on family support, she added. As long as Hungary has a civic government the present family policy will only be extended, Mrs Novák stated.

She also said that since 2015 they have spent more than HUF 250 billion on the family housing benefit (csok), and the number of families which have availed themselves of this option is nearing one hundred thousand.