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Sep 19, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Hungary among the most pro-family countries in Europe

Debt relief, child support, family housing incentives, support for household modernization – these are just some of the latest measures the government has announced in its effort to provide tangible support to Hungarian families.

Hungary has a reputation as one of the most family-friendly countries in Europe and for good reason. In recent years, the Hungarian government has launched a package of innovative programs to encourage families to bear children and to ease certain financial burdens. “Strong families,” according to Prime Minister Orbán, “will create a strong, competitive society and economy, a strong and competitive Hungary and Europe.”

In a recent address to the World Congress of Families, hosted in Budapest, Prime Minister Orbán pointed to two competing approaches to solving Europe’s demographic crisis. We in Central-Eastern Europe prefer to strengthen families, he said, rather than rely on immigration to solve our demographic problems. It is, the prime minister said, our “young people who represent the future of Hungary, who have the courage to go against the flow, who choose family, the community and the nation over multiculturalism” and destructive ideologies.

The prime minister announced that 2018 would be the Year of Families and announced several new initiatives to provide tangible assistance to Hungarian families.

For starters, the government plans to further increase the family tax allowance and will decrease the mortgage of families with at least three children by 1 million HUF (3,200 EUR) per child, after the third child. The debt write-off will be available starting January 1, 2018. Families with children of adult age living independently of their parents may still be eligible, and families with biological or adopted children are all eligible.

Twenty percent of Hungarian couples of child-bearing age are infertile. This is another area where the government offers help. “In the government’s opinion, an in vitro fertilization (IVF) program can be a great step for childless couples, as it can offer them the opportunity and joy of having children, even if they struggle with infertility,” said Katalin Novák, minister of state for Family and Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Human Capacities.

The already existing support provided by the state to IVF procedures will be increased by 2-3 billion HUF (6.5-9.7 million EUR). “The more we support our families, the more children will be born,” said PM Orbán. The goal is to increase Hungary's fertility rate from the current 1.5 percent to 2.1 percent by 2030.

Other additions to the 2018 budget include student loan debt relief for child-bearing families  and extensions of maternity leave for graduates and university students. Moreover, the government established a family cabinet earlier this month, led by Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog. The roundtable is responsible for examining governmental policies from a demographic and family policy perspective.

“Hungary will protect its families at all costs,” said Prime Minister Orbán, “because it means protecting Hungary’s future.”