‘We need to create the conditions of special socio-economic recognition for responsible families with many children’, said Árpád Kovács, Chairman of the Fiscal Council and Lifetime Honorary President of the Hungarian Economic Association at the joint conference and book launch of the Demographics Section of the HEA and the Child and Family Friendly Creative Workshop held on Monday at the Sapientia University, Budapest.

During the presentation of the publication Children Are Our Future: Additional Remarks to the Social Programme of Population Growth, Árpád Kovács said it was important to increase the desire for children in Hungary. ‘To achieve this, however, it is not enough to provide economic incentives and financial support through government schemes’, he added. As Árpád Kovács explained, the number of deaths in Hungary exceeded the number of births by tens of thousands every year, along with the emergence of new generational conflicts and the weakening role and protective power of the family.

Praising the study published by the Child and Family Friendly Creative Workshop, Árpád Kovács urged to explore the causes of population decline. Commenting on the significance of the almost 400-page book he said: ‘There has never been greater need for a publication also contributing to an attitude change based on, and leading to, a broad social consensus’. Referring to the Government’s family support programme, he said that ‘without a joint discussion on population decline’ and ‘a mental consensus’, any measure would be inadequate, even ‘despite the availability of money’. Árpád Kovács warned that there was no more time to waste, because without further substantive measures ‘the country could soon suffer serious damage and loss of human power’.

The pre-drafted speech of György Matolcsy, Governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) entitled Demographic Challenge: a Decisive Factor of Competitiveness was presented by Gusztáv Báger, Member of the MNB Monetary Council and co-editor of the book. According to the presentation also addressing global and Hungarian population trends and perspectives, demographic change was a key element of competitiveness. To this end, the number of births in Hungary should increase by 2,000 every year until 2030. Among others, the presentation proposed further enhanced ‘spending efficiency’ for the Government’s family support measures. The Governor of the MNB also proposed ‘more family friendly’ health care, higher support for in vitro fertilization (IVF), better prevention as regards conditions affecting pregnancy, increased amount of child care allowance and child care benefit, support for part-time employment and further extension of creche and nursery school capacities.

Gusztáv Báger, one of the co-editors of the book expressed his hope that the analyses and proposals of the study aiming for improvement could enhance the desire for children and facilitate the enrichment of family life and the survival of the nation. He also said that to encourage women with childbearing potential aged 35 years or older to have children was among the priorities. The proposals included the introduction of a life course model for professional foster parents as well. (MTI)

Media coverage of the conference:
Kimondták: nem elég még több pénzt adni a családoknak, hogy több gyerek szülessen (Portfolió.hu)
Kedvező lenne a részmunkaidő támogatása (Magyar Hírlap)
Nincs több idő: új minisztériummal állítanák meg a népességfogyást (Napi.hu)
Összetett stratégia kell a népesedési fordulathoz (Demokrata.hu)