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The PM’s baby boom plan

May 27th, 2017

Commentators disagree on PM Orbán’s planned measures aimed at reversing Hungary’s demographic decline within the next decade.

Before leaving for the NATO summit in Brussels where he met President Trump for the first time, the Prime minister announced a plan to reduce mortgages for families with three or more children as well as to cut student loans owed by women with two or more children. The government would like to increase the fertility rate from the present 1.5 children per woman to 2.1 by 2030.

Népszava’s veteran commentator György Sebes deems it disquieting that the government intends to intensify its ‘interference in the lives of Hungarian families’, in addition ‘to shaping nearly everything to its own image’. His main concern, however, is the life span he suggests the government is planning for itself. The timing of the demographic boost announced on Thursday, Sebes writes, suggests that the incumbent government intends to remain in place at least for the forthcoming thirteen years,

Magyar Hírlap’s Sándor Faggyas sharply disagrees with the idea that the government ‘should not care about what happens in family bedrooms’. Due to its low fertility rate, Hungary’s population has shrunk by a million over the past four decades which means that Hungarians will eventually disappear as a nation if that trend continues. He praises the government for resisting ‘the prevailing wind’ and working to turn the negative demographic trends around, rather than importing young people with different ethnic and cultural bonds. If the Hungarian model proves successful, Faggyas hopes, it may become attractive for the rest of ageing Europe. In that case, ‘the prevailing wind may change direction’, he concludes.



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