Anti-immigration Hungarian President Viktor Orban has unveiled his Government’s plan to keep the country’s birth rate from falling without relying on immigrants. Mr Orban said Hungary has found a different solution than the one being adopted by “the West”. Western countries, he said, found the answer to falling birth rates in Europe in immigration. He said: “For every missing child, there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine.” However, Hungarians “think differently.”
He continued: "We do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children."
Mr Orban finished his speech saying: “Long live Hungary and long live the Hungarians!”
The Hungarian President has adopted a harsh stance against immigration, openly opposing the EU's immigration policy and refusing to take in the quota of immigrants from outside the bloc imposed by Brussels.
Hungary’s population is falling by 32,000 a year, with the country’s women having fewer children than the EU average.
While the average number of children women in the EU have in their lifetime is 1.58, Hungary can only count 1.45.
The seven-point plan unveiled by Mr Orban to boost the birth rate in Hungary presents incentives for both mothers and young couples.
Under these plans, Hungarian mothers with four or more children will be exempted for life from paying income tax.
And young couples will be offered interest-free loans of £27,400 (10 million Hungarian forints) to be cancelled once they have three children.
The plan, which was launched during Mr Orban’s state of the nation address, included a pledge to create 21,000 nursery places over the next three years, an extra £1.94bn ($2.5bn) to be spent on the country's healthcare system and housing subsidies.
The EU member state counting the highest fertility rate is France, set at 1.92 children per woman on average.
Spain and Italy are performing even worse than Hungary, with their fertility rates at 1.34, according to EU statistics agency Eurostat.
Hungary’s plan of boosting births by giving financial support to families has already been tried and tested by other countries around the world.
Germany has given parents a legal right to a nursery place once their child turn one and has laws granting lower childcare fees to parents in financial difficulties.
Italy gives mothers a monthly allowance of £70 (€80) per month for every child - with poorest families receiving £140.24 (€160) per child.