In the Castle Garden Bazaar on Thursday, at the 3rd Budapest Demographic Summit, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán described the pursuit of robust demographic policy as a goal of the state and a task of the Government. If there are no families or children, he said a national community can disappear, and if a nation disappears, “something irreplaceable disappears from the world”.

The Prime Minister pointed out that with regard to demography, migration must be excluded as a possible solution, “population replacement” must not be accepted, and there must also be rejection of the “nonsensical” green argument that the Earth would benefit from fewer children being born. He added that according to the order of creation, humans are not enemies of the ecosphere, but a part of it; therefore one must not set one in opposition to the other. Instead, he said, the place for an ever-increasing human population must be rationally designated within the ecosphere.

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Mr. Orbán also said that a turning point in the success of the family support system can be reached if those deciding to have children are guaranteed better living standards than if they had decided not to have children. He said: “This is the point we are seeking, this is where we want to get to. This will be the tipping point for the Hungarian family support system, but we are not there yet: to achieve this, we will need quite a few more years of resolute work.”

Among the spiritual foundations of Hungary’s family policy he mentioned the conviction that every child has the right to a mother and a father, and that families and children are in themselves a precondition for the national community’s biological regeneration. If there are no families and children, he said, a national community can disappear. He went on to say that for national communities of the size of the Hungarians, Czechs or Serbs, for example, it is not difficult to mathematically predict that a continuation of negative demographic trends would mean that “sooner or later there would be one survivor left to turn the lights off: potential extinction”. At the same time, he pointed out, if a nation disappears, “something irreplaceable disappears from the world”.

The Prime Minister also highlighted that the basis of the Hungarian model is constitutional in nature; otherwise it would be impossible to pursue long-term family policy. He noted that these constitutional foundations offer protection from anti-family court rulings, and from frequently anti-family international organisations, NGOs and networks “forcing their way” into Hungary’s state life and decision-making structure.

He observed that good family policy also needs economic foundations: in Hungary over the course of ten years, financial support for families has doubled; and there is the need for a predictable family support system over a period of many years.

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He also underlined that in Hungary family support benefits must be linked to employment, and benefits provided for children must be linked to the fulfilment of parental obligations.

In summary Mr. Orbán said that a condition for the success of the Hungarian government’s demographic policy is the renewed strengthening of Christianity in Europe, and for there to be partners, as “we cannot do this alone”. Regarding the latter, he said that now there are such partners, including Serbia and the Czech Republic. These two countries were represented at the conference by their president and prime minister, respectively. He added that “we are rooting for the Austrians”, and expressed the hope that “the Italian upheaval will also eventually come to a resolution that is in the end good for us, so that we can find partners there as well”.

He pointed out that another condition for success is for Hungarian gross domestic product to exceed the EU’s average economic growth by a minimum of 2 per cent every year up until 2030.

The Prime Minister stressed that all this must be accompanied by determined persistence.

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He observed that nine out of ten people “in the salons of high politics” in Europe declare the impossibility of Hungary attaining its demographic policy goal of a fertility rate of 2.1. He listed, however, some of Hungary’s earlier measures which had been greeted with similar scepticism: “sending home the IMF”; the tax on banks; reductions in household utility bills; taxation of multinational companies; a proportional income tax rate; the creation of one million new jobs over ten years; halting the migrant influx and construction of the border fence. He pointed out that “Despite nine out of ten saying that it was impossible, we’ve somehow achieved every single one of the goals that we set ourselves and that were important for the Hungarian nation”.

He also observed that in Hungary in the past a demographic conference would have caused some surprise: no such conferences were held, because “we saw no need to encourage woodpeckers to peck wood”.

Population decline, the Prime Minister continued, is not a global phenomenon, and neither is it specific to Christian civilisation: it is a general European phenomenon, caused by the enormous human loss of the two world wars, which to this day the continent has been unable to recover from. He stated that as the problems were caused by politics, they cannot be rectified without robust state intervention.

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Mr. Orbán welcomed the foreign guests at the conference, who included the Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić, the Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš and former Australian prime minister Tony Abbot. The Hungarian prime minister said that Hungary looks upon Australia as a model country, and particularly respects the brave, direct and “Anglo-Saxon consistency” it has shown on migration and defence of the Australian nation.

He went on to praise Serbia and the Czech Republic, saying that Mr. Babiš has performed an economic and financial miracle in the Czech Republic, describing him as Europe’s best economic policy maker, and noting that therefore “in Hungary his stock is especially high”. Mr. Orbán stated that “We are also developing well, but we’re still behind the Czechs, looking at the backs of their necks. […] We Hungarians want to catch up with the Czechs.”