Hungary to battle low birth rate with new tax measures

Viktor Orban

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban announced on Sunday a number of new measures aimed at tackling the low birth rate in the country, news wires reported. They include the expansion of a loan programme for families with at least two children to help them buy homes, subsidies for car purchases and waiving personal income tax for women raising at least four children.

"There are fewer and fewer children born in Europe. For the West, the answer to that challenge is immigration. For every missing child there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine," he said in his annual state of the nation speech. "But we do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children," Orban pointed out, announcing a seven-point programme of benefits for families and newly-weds.

According to one of the new measures, women below 40 who marry for the first time will be eligible for a 10 million forint ($36,000) subsidised loan. A third of the debt will be forgiven when a second child is born and the entire loan waived after the third child. "This is the answer for Hungarians, not immigration," Orban said.

Hungarian PM, who is among the most outspoken critics of mass immigration to Europe from the Middle East and Asia, also said that his government aimed to keep economic growth 2% above the EU average in the coming years despite an expected global slowdown.

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