BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – Ten years ago Hungary realized it had a big problem. Abortions were on the rise, the birth rate was low, and its population was declining. So the Budapest government did something radical, made children and families the nation’s most important resource.
Minister for Families
Katalin Novak is a rising star in Hungary. She is a leader of the ruling political party Fidesz and holds the role of minister for families. It’s a cabinet-level position focused, you understand, on raising the nation’s birth rate.
When his party took over in 2010, leaders realized they had two options: opening the door to more immigrants or enticing Hungarian citizens to have more children.
“The number of marriages has decreased. The number of divorces has increased, the number of abortions was high,” Minister Novak told CBN News in an exclusive interview.
Over the past four decades, the Hungarian population has declined by a whopping 10%.
Pastor Nemeth Sandor remembers well those times when under the Communist regime the Hungarians were unwilling to give birth to children.
“So many people didn’t want children because they were afraid of being poor,” Pastor Sandor recalls.
In fact, there were years when the number of abortions was greater than the number of births, so Novak and his team went to work to make it more attractive for young people to get together and start a family.
“To support young adults to be able to have as many children as they want when they want to have these children so that they can give them true freedom of choice, the opportunity to choose for life as many times as they want,” she said.
Among other things, Hungarian female workers who have four children pay no taxes on their lifetime income and get three years off work to take care of their children. Couples can get an interest-free loan of $ 30,000 to help buy a home. The repayment goes down with each child and after three children the debt is forgiven.
It’s working. Over the past decade, the birth rate has increased following the government’s investment in family-friendly policies.
“We also offer services, not just financial support, but also childcare facilities or free catering for children or summer camps for children,” adds Novak.
And the Hungarians aren’t just having children. Over the past decade, marriages have increased by 83%, divorces are at their lowest in 60 years, and abortions have dropped dramatically.
“For me personally this is one of the most important achievements of our decades-long family-oriented or family-oriented policies. Abortions have dropped by 41% and I think we still have work to do in this matter because we need to emphasize the value of life. “says Novak, a mother of three.
Hungary’s pro-family policies are enshrined in its constitution adopted in 2010. This year it was amended to make it clear that a mother is a woman and a father is a man. Furthermore, to say that the education of children, including sex education, belongs exclusively to their parents.
A move that drives European Union leaders crazy in Brussels.
“This has created such indignation in EU politics that they are now trying to impose sanctions on Hungary,” Secretary of State Tristan Azbej told CBN News.
The executive branch of the European Union legal action started against Hungary which accuses the government of discriminating against LGBT people.
“We are heavily attacked and criticized for the faith, our Christian convictions and also for Christian Democratic political ideas”, adds Azbej.
Zoltan Kovacs, spokesman for the Prime Minister, says the European Union is exaggerating by meddling in the education policies of a member nation.
“They don’t like us because we won’t let the violent and exaggerated LGBTQ propaganda get into our schools, into our children’s lives,” he tells CBN News in an exclusive interview in Budapest.
As Hungary looks to next year’s elections, the opposition is uniting to take out Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been overwhelmingly restored to office three times.
“It is very difficult for me to understand what is controversial in saying that the mother is a woman and the father is a man or that marriage is between a man and a woman based on their mutual consent. I think it is the basis of our lives and we have only reflected it in our constitution. So, I think we don’t have to explain it because it has always been this way and it still is in Hungary, “says Kovacs.
Christian leaders like Pastor Sandor are pleased with Orban’s family policies.
“Of course, it is the fulfillment of a prayer that government policy is aligning with us, and that God make it permanent,” he explains.
Asked what people in the United States should know about Hungary’s pro-family agenda, Minister Kovak said: “We never intended to draw international attention to ourselves or teach anyone lessons. , but we don’t want to be taught any lessons either. “
Making the health and growth of families a government priority is revolutionary in today’s world, but officials here see it as an asset that enriches Hungarian society and has no alternative.