In this evening's Government Info press conference, Minister János Csák shed light on Hungary's drive to establish itself as Europe's most family-friendly nation. He introduced the details of the ‘CSOK plus' initiative, which aims to offer financial support to families based on the number of children they have. Families can now avail loans ranging from 15 to 50 million forints. These loans come with a modest 3% interest rate, and for those looking to purchase their first shared home, a mere 10% down payment is essential.
The loan's duration is flexible, spanning between 10 to 25 years. Women up to 41 years of age are eligible to apply for this loan. In addition, during a special two-year transitional period, women who are at least 12 weeks pregnant, regardless of age, can also apply. However, it's noteworthy that these loans aren't applicable for land purchases. For first-time homeowners, there's a ceiling of 80 million forints, but if they're looking to expand or move to a new residence, they can avail up to 150 million forints. If families wish to use the loan for home renovations or expansions, they should be prepared to add an extra 20% to their down payment.
Minister Csák added a silver lining for borrowers, mentioning they won't have to pay back the principal amount in the first year, focusing only on the 3% interest. Once a family welcomes a new member, they can request a year-long moratorium on their loan. The benefits don't stop there: for a second child, a generous 10 million forints of the principal amount is waived, with similar reductions for every subsequent child. Csák emphasized that the core essence of this initiative is to ensure "every desired child can be born."
On the international front, Minister Gulyás voiced concerns on the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The government firmly believes in Israel's right to self-defense and extends its heartfelt condolences to the affected families. Gulyás emphasized the crucial role of the international community in preventing this conflict from spreading to other nations. He also highlighted the current plight of 15 Hungarian citizens, including ten minors across four families, stranded in Gaza. The Hungarian foreign ministry is in regular contact, ensuring their safety and well-being.
Diving into EU matters, Gulyás expressed skepticism about the proposed EU budget, particularly pointing out the government's hesitation in approving pay hikes for Brussels bureaucrats. He was also vocal about the government's reservations concerning the current format of support designated for Ukraine. The minister argued that the European Commission's intention to span the funding over four years could inadvertently extend the ongoing conflict.
In a nod to Hungary's commitment to scientific advancements, the government has greenlit an impressive funding boost of 75 billion forints for the Center For Molecular Fingerprinting, led by the Nobel-winning physicist Ferenc Krausz. Furthermore, the nation witnessed the inception of the Hungarian Research Excellence Council, a dedicated team steered by seven distinguished members, with Krausz taking the helm.
Watch my recent discussion with Prof. Dr. Krausz on The Bold Truth About Hungary podcast below.