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Freedom of choice for families important principle in Hungary, President says

Real freedom of choice for families is considered one of the most important fundamental principles in Hungary, President Katalin Novak said in Brussels late on Wednesday, arguing that not every decision could be applied to every family the same way.

Addressing an event on demographic issues organised by the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations and the Liszt Institute, Novak said the Hungarian state strived to give families freedom of choice, noting the challenge that was the fertility gap.

She said everything possible needed to be done to close the gap and help couples have as many children as they want. This, she added, could not mean interfering in people’s private lives.

Hungary spends 6 percent of its GDP on family support, Novak said, noting the PIT exemptions, preferential student loans and housing support offered to those with more children. She also mentioned the broad creche services, extended parental leave and allowances for grandparents providing childcare.

Hungary’s family policies have allowed the fertility rate to rise by nearly 30 percent, she said.

Novak said Europe would be making a mistake if it did not focus enough on its falling birth rates, adding that Europe’s population was only rising because of immigration.

Meanwhile, she said it was a flawed argument on young people’s part to say that one of the ways of fighting climate change was not having children.

She said there was no point in dealing with climate change without a future generation, adding that climate change and demographic challenges needed to be confronted at the same time.

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