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AFP
November 6, 2018
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Hungary launches pro-family campaign

World

AFP
November 6, 2018

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BUDAPEST: Hungary on Monday launched a new survey canvassing voters on family policy, setting out the government’s rejection of alleged EU attempts at “population replacement” through immigration.

Orban’s right-wing government, which has frequently clashed with the EU on migration and human rights issues, has often used such surveys to put forward its policies and ask for voters’ views on them. “Europe is the continent of empty cradles, there aren’t enough children,” Katalin Novak, a state secretary in Orban’s government, said at the launch for the questionnaires asking residents whether they agree with Orban’s pro-family stance.

“In spite of the significant mass migration toward Europe, Hungary wants to rely on its internal resources,” she said. “We see the future in Hungarian children,... Hungary does not want immigration or population replacement.”

Hungary has seen its population fall continuously since the end of communism, with one of the lowest fertility rates in the developed world and half a million people having left the country in the past decade to work in western Europe.

The taxpayer-funded survey is the latest so-called “national consultation” since 2015 that has mentioned immigration, asking citizens to agree or disagree with the government’s position.

Comprising 10 questions and entitled ‘Defence of Families’ it will be sent to Hungary’s estimated eight million households nationwide in the coming days, with respondents asked to return the forms by December 21.

Accusing “Brussels bureaucrats” of wanting to import migrants to tackle demographic problems, the first question asks if respondents agree that “population decline should be tackled not by immigration, but by stronger support for families?”

Other questions canvass opinion on recognising motherhood as a full-time job, whether children should have a constitutional right to both a mother and father, or if “the intellectual, spiritual, and physical development of children is a value that the state should defend”.

By completing the questionnaire Hungarians “can send a strong message to Brussels that the renewal of Europe is unimaginable without the strengthening of families as well,” said Novak. Previous national consultations have attacked both Brussels and liberal US billionaire George Soros for allegedly plotting to increase migration. Soros denies this and EU institutions have of late also focused on strengthening the bloc’s external borders. Orban’s tough rhetoric, anti-immigration measures and clampdowns on opponents alarm critics but have bolstered his populist support at home and won him praise from other hardline European leaders.

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