Security is a key concern for Hungary and its people, President Katalin Novák said after talks with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Wednesday.
Hungarian NATO Membership Offers Security in The Region
Hungary’s NATO membership ensures security ‘both for the country and its region’, Novák told reporters, stressing that ‘peace and stability are of paramount importance for Hungary’.
Hungary contributes to NATO’s missions and will soon meet its commitment to raising its defence spending to two percent of GDP, Novák reiterated. The presence of Hungarian troops in the Western Balkans also contributes to peace and stability in the region, she added.
Novák went on to state that Hungary supports Ukraine’s right to self-defence and would continue to provide humanitarian aid to the embattled country. The Hungarian government condemns Russia’s aggression against a sovereign Ukraine, she declared, and declared: ‘The most important task is to find ways to peace.’
Novák also ruled out the possibility of any ties between Hungary and Russia ‘which could undermine ties with its allies and commitments within NATO as well as in the European Union’.
Concerning the Middle East, Novák said Hungary deeply sympathizes with Israel and condemns the ‘brutal attack’ it had suffered. The conflict, she said, focused international attention on the importance of stability in the region. Answering a question about Sweden’s NATO accession, Novák said it would ‘contribute to reinforcing NATO and increasing common security’.
President Novák underscored the importance for Budapest of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, saying it was ‘very important to honour minority rights especially when a country has ambitions to join our alliances’. Resolution of issues around the Hungarian community in Ukraine is ‘necessary for Hungary to maintain its supportive stance towards Ukraine’s fight’, she said.
Freedom Of Choice For Families Is Fundamental
Real freedom of choice for families is considered one of the most important fundamental principles in Hungary, she added later that day, after her meeting with Jens Stoltenberg.
Addressing an event on demographic issues organized by the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations and the Liszt Institute, Novák said the Hungarian state strives to give families freedom of choice, noting the challenge of the fertility gap. She said everything possible needs to be done to close the gap and help couples have as many children as they want.
This, she added, should not mean interfering in people’s private lives.
Hungary spends six per cent of its GDP on family support, Novák highlighted, citing as examples the exemption from paying personal income tax of women with four or more children, preferential student loans and housing support offered to families with children. She also mentioned the broad crèche services, extended parental leave and the possibility of grandparents taking state-financed childcare leave.
Hungary’s family policies have allowed the fertility rate to rise by nearly 30 per cent, she reminded. Novák warned that Europe would be making a mistake if it did not focus enough on its falling birth rates, adding that Europe’s population was only rising because of immigration. Meanwhile, she said it was a flawed argument on young people’s part to say that one of the ways of fighting climate change was not having children. She remarked that there was no point in tackling climate change without a future generation, arguing that climate change and demographic challenges needed to be confronted simultaneously.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/Sándor Palace/MTI