An anti-immigration prime minister has proposed giving a lifetime tax exemption to mothers that have four or more children, as his country faces a shrinking population that threatens the economy.
Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán in a speech this week criticised western Europe’s immigration intakes that kept their population growing.
“We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children,” he reportedly said.
“Migration for us is surrender.”
As well as lifetime tax-free status for prolific mothers, he said the government would provide finance support for big families buying seven-seat cars, home loan support for those with at least two kids, and preschool places.
Orbán himself has five children.
Despite the support for mothers, the far-right Hungarian leader has a poor record in supporting women’s rights.
He’s previously explained male dominance in top government jobs as women not being able to cope with the stresses of executive positions, and last year he banned gender studies at universities.
Move to the far-right
Hungary has lurched to the right and into authoritarianism under Orbán, who has ruled since 2010 in his second term.
With people leaving the repressive political conditions, the government whipping up anti-immigration sentiment and the fertility rate at a very low 1.45 children per woman, the country is facing a demographic crisis.
In his latest speech, Orbán criticised “mixed population countries” and warned that Muslims were taking over Europe as the Christian population headed towards a minority existence.
Democracy think tank Freedom House this month downgraded Hungary to a “partly free” rating, making it the only member of the European Union to not be rated “free”.
“Hungary, once lauded as a success story of postcommunist transition, fell to ‘partly free’ status for 2018, as prime minister Viktor Orbán presided over the most dramatic decline ever charted by Freedom House within the European Union,” the organisation stated.
The behaviour of the Hungarian government, Freedom House reported last year, “overtly resembled those of authoritarian regimes”.
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