President: Demographic Roundtable aimed to increase Hungarian population
Novak, who is also the head of the roundtable, said Hungary had “made moved in such a positive direction demographically in the past 13 years that is almost unprecedented in the highly developed western countries.” “From the back rows, Hungary has come to the mid-field,” she said, adding that whereas “we have succeeded in making a pro-family turnaround we have not yet made a demographic one.”
She said the roundtable would work to achieve a demographic turnaround to “raise the willingness to procreate the highest in Europe … and to reverse an over four decade-long negative trend” of a decreasing population. “We may not be enough to do that, but I think we could start a movement, which, if supported by many, will achieve that turnaround…”
Problems of a shrinking population could be “logically” remedied by “importing the necessary labour, relying in immigration rather than on promoting childbirth,” the president said.
While many countries will opt for that approach, “we in Hungary do not see the solution in mass migration but in promoting childbirth,” she said.
Concerning the new body, Novak said the roundtable was not a government agency. Its members will make recommendations to the government and “encourage people to contribute to the dialogue,” she added.
The roundtable comprises representatives of the private and public spheres, as well as the scientific community, with Agnes Hornung, state secretary in charge of health services, as its secretary.
The inaugural session was attended by the heads of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Hungarian Art Academy, the Central Statistical Office, the State Treasury, the National Media and Broadcasting Authority, the National Public Service University, the Heim Pal Paediatric Hospital, and other officials.