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Novak: Falling birth numbers a danger to Hungary’s future

Hungary will have no future, and the nation cannot be preserved unless the birth rate can be raised, President Katalin Novak said in an interview published in the weekly Mandiner on Thursday.

The fifth Budapest Demographic Summit starting on Thursday will be attended by heads of state and government, as well as Nobel laureate economist James Hackman, psychologist Jordan Peterson and inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic. The congress will focus on the family as a key factor of security, she said.

The number of children born in Hungary is falling each year, and the number of women in childbearing age has fallen by 20 percent in the past 20 years, she said.

The state has a role in ensuring that raising children does not come with financial setbacks, and that families with children don’t live in worse conditions than those without children, she said.

Hungary maintains its commitment to supporting families even amid the economic difficulties resulting from the war in Ukraine. Hungary is “spending on the verge of its capacities” to fulfil that commitment, she said. “That is not an expense but the best investment,” she said.

Commenting on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement that he is ready to provide all rights to Hungarians living in Ukraine that Ukrainians in Hungary enjoy, Novak said that step would be “an important step forward”.

“Reliability is an important characteristic of countries aspiring to become European Union member states. I trust that the Ukrainian president is a serious man and meant what he said,” she added.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will attend the summit, Novak said. Hungary supports her efforts to ensure the economic stability and strengthen traditional values in her country, as well as to stop migration, she said.

Regarding Sweden’s NATO accession, Novak said: “I definitely think that we should support Sweden’s NATO integration.” The decision is with Hungary’s parliament, she added.

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