Hungarian govt consults with citizens on population policies

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-08 23:59:50|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

BUDAPEST, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Hungary kicked off on Thursday its national consultations regarding the protection and support of families with children.

"Postal service started delivering the questionnaire to Hungarian households who will get them in the next few days," said Katalin Novak, minister of state for family and youth affairs at the Ministry of Human Capacities, quoted by a government website.

The questionnaire featured ten yes-no questions, and answers are expected by Dec. 21.

The Hungarian government sends out questionnaires to the population for "national consultation" on a regular basis, on subjects such as immigration, which might affect the general public.

After winning a third consecutive election in April, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the first objective of his government would be to stop the country's demographic decline.

The population of Hungary, which was close to 12 million in the 70's, dropped under the psychological threshold of 10 million a few years ago, and is still decreasing each year.

Before implementing new regulations, the government wants to know Hungarians' stance towards questions such as tax exemptions for mothers with three or more children.

The questions relate to the introduction of full-time motherhood for women raising a minimum of four children, the legal protection of grants provided for families raising children, and the provision of support for family members looking after sick children at home, Novak explained.

The demographic problem is worsened by the fact that close to half a million Hungarians have left the country to work in Western Europe in pursuit of higher wages.

Meanwhile, jobless rate is at a record low of 3.7 percent, and firms complain that it is harder and harder to find workforce. Nonetheless, the Hungarian government does not want to solve the problem with migration as several European countries do. Instead, it chooses to support Hungarian families raise children and young people start their families by adopting measures to promote births and childraising.

The questions include for example if young people "should be helped with an interest-free starting loan of up to 5-10 million forints (18,000 to 36,000 U.S. dollars) so that they can start having children earlier if they so wish".

One question concerns the possibility of guaranteeing family grants in a law adopted with a two-thirds majority in the Parliament, thus making it remain effective even after an eventual change of government.