As five thousand migrants are taken by bus each day through western Hungary from the Croatian to the Austrian border, a conservative economist argues that despite its demographic decline, it would not be in Hungary’s interest to encourage them to stay – even if they wanted to.
In Magyar Idők, senior university lecturer Péter Novoszáth rejects those theories which argue that Hungary badly needs immigrants in order to reverse its population decline. He points out that only 60 per cent of Hungarians of working age actually work or seek employment, while in Sweden the figure is 80 per cent. The European Union would like to see a 75 per cent activity rate by 2020. If the people coming from Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan by the tens of thousands every week settled in Hungary, they would only drive the unemployment rate back up to earlier levels, as most of them are unskilled, he suggests. Instead of contributing to faster growth, Novoszáth concludes, these people would only be a burden on Hungary’s already strained welfare system.