The World Congress of Families in Budapest

This morning Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has opened the Budapest Demographic Forum/Budapest Family Summit which is now being held under the auspices of the global World Congress of Families.  WCF  is an annual congress which is dedicated to families (as meant by normal, decent people or as it is defined in Hungary’s Constitution:  a life union of exactly one man and exactly one woman and their children!) and it’s an important forum for conservatives throughout the world.

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Incidentally, on this occasion, George Soros’ CEU university, which (unfortunately) the last couple of posts of mine were about, didn’t miss either to promote their sick left-liberal views:

The Central Eastern European region is quickly becoming a key player in the support of regional anti-gender movements and global right-wing politics. For example, the World Congress of Families and the International Organization for the Family, a large coalition of conservative organizations from around the globe, will host their annual conference in Budapest in late May under the theme “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Great Again.” Such developments require serious academic engagement and persistent multidisciplinary discussion.

With our invited guests we will review the gendered and hetero-normative aspects of right-wing discourses on the family, the root causes of such discourses and policies, and their consequences for LGBTQ rights and reproductive justice. The panel will provide an overview of the geopolitical stakes in focusing on particular formations of the family, as well as on the support for LGBTQ equality and reproductive justice in the post-Cold War world order. We will take a closer look at the Hungarian context and the role of discourses on the family in local and regional politics. This discussion between scholars and activists offers an intersectional perspective on gendered discourses and politics in light of the globalized right-wing movements.

Anyway, here are the major points PM Orbán made in his opening speech:

  • Europe is losing big time concerning the reproduction of her population. There are two approaches to solve this existential crisis: immigration and  supporting families … which is the Central European way.
  • Orbán said that his government is strongly committed to solving  Hungary’s demographic crisis by supporting Hungarian families instead of supporting mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa, which is still the preferred “solution” in Western and Northern Europe.
  • Hungary has succeeded in stopping the illegal mass immigration at her Southern borders.  “If that’s possible at all, Hungary will more even more resolute to defend her borders, regardless of any EU disapproval”, said Orbán.
  • Hungary lost about a million people in the last few decades and that’s more than our loss in WWII.  There were 10,8 million people living in Hungary in 1980 and now there are only 9.8 million.
  • Hungary’s fertility rate (the average number of children per woman) now stands at 1.5.  Orbán pledged that his government will increase the fertility rate to the level which is necessary to replenish the population, that is to 2.1, by 2030.
  • He announced a number of pro-family measures for 2018.  He also emphasized that Hungary’s subsequent governments must also exhibit this kind of supportive attitude for families.

The announced measures are the following:

  1. More family tax breaks, focussed on two-child families.
  2. 50% of the student loan will be paid by the government for those women who have student loans.  The student loan will be paid off entirely by the government for those women who have three or more children!
  3. Child care support will be provided for an additional year for women with degrees in higher education. Student mothers will be provided with this benefit until their child is two year old.
  4.  The Hungarian families with mortgages will be paid one million Forints (3250 EUR/2820 GBP/3660 USD) for their third child and one million Forints for each one after.
  5. The government initiates a “huge programme” to build, or to renovate, crèches (day care centres)
  6. Soon the Hungarian families living abroad may also have access to Hungary’s “baby bonds”. (This is a type of treasury bond with the objective of stimulating savings for children by their parents. Parents must make small monthly contributions and, in return, the child receives a guaranteed minimum amount tax-free upon turning 18.)
  7.   The government establishes a “family studies” think-tank which PM Orbán expects to become of international fame.

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First PM visit in Warsaw again

Having President Áder asked PM Orbán formally to form his new government this morning, Mr. Orbán left for his first visit abroad. Just like in 2010, when Fidesz won another landslide victory, his first prime ministerial visit was paid to Poland again.

“The next Hungarian government will also be deeply committed towards the historic Polish-Hungarian friendship” and “as in the last four years, the new Hungarian government wants to focus on Central Europe in its foreign policies”, Orbán said. He also thanked Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk the support Hungary has received from Poland since 2010.

First visit in Warsaw again

The Polish prime minister also emphasized the importance of the traditional Polish-Hungarian friendship and the fact Mr. Orbán visited Poland first. He also praised the Visegrad Four cooperation and Hungary’s presidency of the V4 which is ending at the end of June.  Concerning the recent election results in Hungary, he noted that “Hungarians appreciated the values the party alliance led by PM Orbán represent”.

The “energy union”, proposed by PM Tusk and fully backed by PM Orbán, was the most important topic of the talks. This means that at least the V4 countries would fully integrate their energy supply systems (gas and electricity networks) and they would strive to achieve “energy independence”, for example getting rid of a complete dependence on Russian natural gas.
The prime ministers have briefly discussed the Ukrainian situation, too, and they noted the Hungarian and Polish views and interests are similar: both countries are neighbouring to Ukraine and Hungarian and Polish ethnic minorities live in Ukraine.

All I can say  (in Polish) is

Polak, Węgier — dwa bratanki,
i do szabli, i do szklanki,

Please read this Wikipedia article for more details.

 

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National Sovereignty or Global Governance?

This is an interesting lecture given by American political analyst John Fonte, director of the Center for American Common Culture at the Hudson Institute, in the Danube Institute and it is discussing the issue of national sovereignty in the 21st century.

The Danube Institute is an independent think-tank in Budapest, “established  for intellectual debate between conservatives and classical liberals and their democratic opponents in Central Europe”.

Here is a very interesting interview (unfortunately in Hungarian) with John O’Sullivan,  the executing manager of DI, once a special councillor to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and editor of British and US conservative newspapers, and DI deputy manager Gerald Frost.   Please stay tuned because I’m going to review it in a later post.

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