The Hungarian family support system is outstanding in international comparison, as families receive a wide range of help and, more importantly, they can live in a family-friendly environment.
Just like other European countries, Hungary has been wrestling with a declining population for four decades. Although the challenge of stopping demographic decline sometimes seems “almost impossible,” Hungary decided to move forward with its policies to help families. The government aims to make Hungary a family-friendly country where it is good to live, work, raise children, and grow old.
The diversity of the Hungarian family support model is unmatched in Europe,
and it is also unique that a government places such emphasis on helping families. The Hungarian government has been working for a decade now on shifting its social policy in a family-friendly direction, many elements of which include free meals for children, free school textbooks, holiday opportunities at summer camps, marriage allowance, grandparenting, and parental tax exemption. The elements of the family support system have been expanding year by year. Nonetheless, the most important among these is the family-friendly mentality, which—slowly but steadily—is taking shape in Hungary.
‘Numerous positive demographic indicators highlight the value of investing in family policy’- says Hungary’s Minister for Family Affairs, Katalin Novák.
To better protect families and children, the Hungarian Parliament voted last year to include in the Constitution that the mother is a woman and the father is a man. It may still seem evident today that the mother is a woman and the father a man, but such fundamental truths are under constant attack worldwide.
According to Justice Minister Judit Varga, the amendment ensures that all children are educated in accordance with values based on the Christian culture of Hungary and guarantees the undisturbed development of the child according to his or her gender of birth.
‘We live in a world where even the most basic things are worth clarifying. That is why it is now necessary to amend the Constitution and stipulate that the mother is a woman, and the father is a man. We have come this far. Fidesz-KDNP has always advocated that families and children come first and that their defence deserves the highest level of legal protection’- noted István Hollik Fidesz Communications Director.
In addition to family allowances, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that from 2022 onwards, young Hungarians under the age of 25 will not have to pay personal income tax. Also, newlyweds will be eligible for new family tax benefits after they turn 25. This is not the first time the Orbán-government decided to provide a personal tax exemption to social groups. Recently, mothers of four or more children were exempt from paying PIT.
‘The success of the Hungarian model can be an example for other countries as well, as it shows that economic goals do not have to be sacrificed for family support, successful family policy and successful economic policy can go hand in hand’-noted Katalin Novák.
Lidia Papp, Danube Institute research fellow