The national consultation regarding the promotion and protection of families with children will start this week. The postal service will start delivering the questionnaires to members of the public in the next few days, the Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Human Capacities announced at a press conference held on Monday in Budapest.

Katalin Novák said the questionnaires will feature ten yes-no questions. The government will expect answers by 21 December, and later on it will also possible to fill in the questionnaires online.

The questions relate to the introduction of full-time motherhood for women raising minimum four children, the two-thirds protection of grants provided for families raising children, and the provision of support for family members looking after sick children at home.

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The Minister of State stressed that the Hungarian government does not want to solve Hungary’s population problem with migration as several European countries do, but by supporting Hungarian families raising children and young people starting families.

Mrs Novák said the government wishes to adopt further measures which seek to promote the births and raising of children. Therefore as part of the latest national consultation they are seeking to learn about the people’s opinions to assist with their future decisions.

According to the Minister of State, asking the people in this form has proved to be a tested and well-established practice: Hungary is at the forefront in this effort because following the Hungarian model consultations have also been launched in the European Union. A questionnaire-based consultation is a good genre also because this allows everyone to state their opinions, she added.

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Mrs Novák highlighted that feedback is particularly important for the government in the year of families as they would like to decide on issues concerning them together with families and young people.

Explanatory texts are attached to each of the ten questions featured in the questionnaire – which was presented at the press conference –, outlining specific government concepts. Questions can be answered in the affirmative or negative. In answer to a question, the Minister of State said if these specific proposals are supported, they will be presented to the government.

The government is seeking to find out, inter alia, whether the people agree that the problem of Hungary’s declining population should not be remedied with immigration, but with more intensive family support measures; whether the people agree that the new family support programmes will continue to remain tied to employment; and whether young married couples should be given support with the initial phases of their independent married lives.

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The introductory text attached to the latter question proposes that young people “should be helped with an interest-free starting loan of up to HUF 5 to 10 million so that they can start having children earlier if they so wish”.

In the questionnaire people will also be asked whether they agree that a child has the right to grow up in a family, if possible, in the care of a mother and a loving father. The 10th question of the questionnaire concerns the possibility of guaranteeing the two-thirds protection of fiscal family grants.

In reference to this, Mrs Novák said this question is important because they would like to “carve in stone” family grants so that they cannot be easily removed as was observed earlier during left-wing governments, for instance, in the case of the elimination of the first-home housing benefit. The decisions of young people to have children are not made for terms of government, the Minister of State stressed.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)