DEMOGRAPHIC CRISIS: Declining population due to low birth rates is the biggest threat to Europe, warns Hungarian president
Hungarian President Katalin Novak has warned that the biggest threat to Europe is a demographic crisis caused by the lack of self-sustaining birth rates in the continent.
Novak, a conservative and a member of the ruling Fidesz party, gave this warning while being interviewed by Hungarian news outlet InfoRadio just ahead of the fifth Budapest Demographic Summit, a conference discussing demographic issues in Europe and all over the world.
“Not having enough children is not only a Hungarian phenomenon, it is the same everywhere in the so-called developed Western world,” said Novak. “If we just think about the fact that there is not a single country in Europe today that has enough children to even maintain its population – so we are not talking about population growth – then we can sense how big the problem is.”
“The demographic challenge is now more serious than the [so-called] climate crisis, it is a bigger problem for the future of the developed world,” said Novak. “It is a problem for Europe as a whole, and indeed for the Western world as a whole.”
Hungary implementing policies to increase birth rate
Data from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office noted that Hungary’s population has decreased to around 9.6 million this year from 10.7 million in 1980. This situation can be found all over the continent, with a number of countries hitting record lows in terms of birth rates and, as Novak previously mentioned, not a single country on the continent having enough births to maintain their population, let alone grow it.
Addressing the opening day of the Budapest Demographic Summit, Novak noted that, in the early 2000s when socialists were in government in Hungary, a variety of state-backed incentives that could have supported families who wanted children were cut or outright abolished, including the shortening of paid family leave.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who also addressed the summit, warned that “Western elites” are ignoring the question of demographics. Orban noted how his government has made birth rates a key political priority. Under Orban, the Hungarian government has invested around five percent of the country’s GDP into implementing policies that support the creation of families.
These policies include subsidies on housing for young married couples and for families with three children who want to buy a new home or a car, tax exemptions for people under 25, and a lifetime exemption from paying taxes for mothers of four or more children.
At the summit, Orban also announced that he was ramping up these efforts by introducing new policies that promote the creation of families, starting with lowering the threshold for women to receive a lifetime exemption on paying taxes from four children down to three.
Arguing the success of Hungary’s policies, the government pointed out that its marriage rate has doubled from 3.6 marriages per 1,000 persons in 2011 to 7.4 per 1,000 in 2021, nearly double the European Union average of 3.9 per 1,000 that year.
The country’s fertility rate – the number of live births per woman – has also been rising steadily and is currently at 1.61 live births per woman, above the EU average of 1.53 and up from a record low of 1.23 in 2011 – which was also the lowest in the EU at the time.
Hungary hopes to get the fertility rate up to 2.1 by 2030, which is the minimum needed to reverse the decline in the country’s population.
“Hungary is the loudest advocate for families and the issue of demography. This won’t change,” said Orban, who noted that to change the continent’s demographic decline, conservatives who will promote pro-family policies need to take control of governments.
“There is a need to change direction,” he said. “We need to ensure that family-friendly, conservative forces come to power in as many European countries as possible. I hope family-friendly forces win the European Parliament elections [in 2024].”
Learn more about the demographic crisis affecting countries all over the world at PopulationCollapse.com.
Watch this clip from Newsmax providing a brief summary of the last 100 years in Hungary, and how the Hungary of today is standing up for families.
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