Polish-Hungarian Family Policy Meeting in Warsaw

Katalin Novák was honored in Warsaw for recognition of the Hungarian family policy. Polish and Hungarian family policies are in "noble competition", both open up opportunities for having a family and children, highlighted Katalin Novák, Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Human Resources, in Warsaw on Wednesday. 

The Minister of State has attended an expert meeting entitled Family Policy, Maternity and Infant Care at the invitation of Elzbieta Rafalska, the Polish Minister for Family, Social and Labor. At the meeting, Elzbieta Rafalska has awarded the ministerial prize Primus in Agendo to Katalin Novák. Earlier, in the hall of the Polish Ministry of Family Affairs, the two politicians opened the exhibition of artist Veronika Szabó-Jakatics entitled Motherhood - Another dimension, co-organized by the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Warsaw.

The conference was attended by Hungarian organization dealing with family affairs - the Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families, the Single Parent Center and the National Association of Large Families. Minister Rafalska said in her introductory speech that they were following the Hungarian family policy with special attention in Warsaw, and that they were very respectful of its complex nature and are inspired by the Hungarian experience.
In her speech, Katalin Novák mentioned that Polish and Hungarian family politics were in a "noble competition", drawing on each other's experience.
According to her, family-friendly governance is also justified by the decreasing number of births across Europe. "Statistics showing that Europe's population is still growing are misleading, because it comes no longer from internal resources. (...) Immigration is the only source of population growth." she said. She has pointed out that Polish and Hungarian societies are traditionally family-oriented. This is also true for the younger generation, even if young people "have less children than they wish to". In this context, she called it "a huge sin" of the past decades that "they were trying to convince us: we do not need children", that the family "is not about love, not about care, (...) trust or a strong community", but "domestic violence, conflicts, financial difficulties".

And family policy was "stripped down to the issue of numbers and statistics, rather than being discussed about the essence, the cohesion of families, the strength and the strong families that founded our communities," she has continued. She has also described the changes that have recently taken place in the public perception of the role of women in the labor market and in the family. 

She believes that women "no longer dare to have a family at young age or have a large family", and this is due to "the perception validated by the leftliberal elite". Therefore, having children is also a cultural issue besides the material concerns, said Katalin Novák. In this context, she has emphasized the importance of policies related to the support of families. She has recalled that in Hungary, family-related spendings have been doubled since 2010, with 4.8 per cent of GDP currently earmarked for this purpose. She has outlined the latest Hungarian family policy measures, including support of young parents to be introduced from 1 July, the expansion of the nursery care system, the grandparental child care fee and the tax exemption for mothers with four children.

As a result of family-oriented governance, last year the highest level of childbirth and marriage was recorded in a 20-year review, and the number of abortions fell by more than 30 percent, showing that demographic indicators indicate a favourable trend - said Katalin Novák.

Speaking to the MTI, the Minister of State also mentioned support for single-parent families, pointing out that parents raising their children independently could benefit, among other things, from the Family Housing Support Program and car-buying programs. She considered the Polish and Hungarian family policy approach to be similar, which, as she said, creates opportunities for childbearing, reconciling work and family values. The choice of lifestyle is seen as a personal decision, and unlike the leftliberal approach working along " serious doctrines", no one is forced into a path - said Katalin Novák.

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