Without families and children, a national community could end up disappearing, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a speech to the Budapest Demographic Summit III on Thursday.
The international meeting in Budapest, included personalities from Brazil, the United States, Africa and Eastern Europe, reported French daily Le Figaro. The objective is to promote “the model of the traditional family”.
Present with the Hungarian leader, were Bulgarian, Brazilian, Latvian, Polish, Bangladeshi and Cape Verdean ministers in office. But several heads of state also attended, including Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and former Australian Chief Executive Tony Abbott.
“And if a nation disappears, something irreplaceable disappears from the world,” Orban said at the event held in the Varkert Bazaar. One of his administration’s goals was to pursue a vigorous demographic policy, as the “solution of immigration” and the “mindless green argument that the Earth would be better off with fewer births”.
But as of 2016, the total population of Africa was estimated at 1,225 billion, representing 17 percent of the world’s population. According to UN estimates, the population of Africa may reach 2,5 billion by 2050 – about 26 percent of the world’s total. By 2100, however it will reach nearly 4,5 billion, which is about 40 percent of the world’s total population.
Orban said Hungary’s family support scheme would only reach a turning point when those who decide to have children enjoyed a higher standard of living than if they had opted against having children.
He noted further that a mother and father were prerequisites of “the biological reproduction of a national community” and essential for pursuing a long-term healthy family policy.
Such constitutional foundations will protect Hungary against court rulings that are detrimental to families and against attempts by “anti-family” international organisations, NGOs and networks that “penetrate” into the country’s state affairs and decision-making, the prime minister said.
Hungarian social spending in support of families has doubled over the past ten years.
The prime minister highlighted the need for a predictable family support system over the long term. But the key to the success of Hungary’s demographic policy was also “Christianity regaining its strength in Europe” he added. Serbia and the Czech Republic are already on board, Orban noted.
The demographic policy’s success would be ensured if Hungary’s annual economic growth rate exceeded the EU average by at least 2 percent between now and 2030, Orban pointed out.
The abundant skepticism in Europe as to whether Hungary could achieve its demographic policy goal of a 2,1 fertility rate is shared by the same people who had warned that Hungarian government measures of “sending home the IMF”, introducing a banking tax and a progressive income tax, levying a tax on multinational companies, cutting utility costs, creating one million jobs in ten years, stopping migration or building a border fence, would not be possible.
Addressing the audience, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said demographic changes were one of today’s top challenges calling for immediate action. Vucic also emphasised the gravity of Europe’s demographic woes in terms of the future of central Europe, and the need for the continent as a whole to find solutions to the problem. He said Serbia was ready to cooperate with Hungary and the other central European countries in addressing the plummeting birth rate.
Andrej Babis, the Czech prime minister, said the effects of a population decline on Europe could be almost as severe as those of climate change.
Tony Abbott, Australia’s former prime minister, highlighted that the government’s family support were a means of promoting population growth instead of immigration. He praised Hungary’s family support scheme as unique, saying it should be studied by other countries.