Hungary touts family policies as alternative to immigration

CORRECTS SLOVAKIAN TO CZECH PRIME MINISTER -- Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis delivers a speech during the 3rd Budapest Demographic Summit in Varkert Bazar conference center in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The Hungarian capital city, which hosts the international summit for the third time after 2015 and 2017, welcomes politicians, scientists, church dignitaries and public personalities to give presentations and exchange their experiences on current population trends. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)
Former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott delivers a speech during the 3rd Budapest Demographic Summit in Varkert Bazar conference center in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The Hungarian capital city, which hosts the international summit for the third time after 2015 and 2017, welcomes politicians, scientists, church dignitaries and public personalities to give presentations and exchange their experiences on current population trends. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)
CORRECTS SLOVAKIAN TO CZECH PRIME MINISTER --- Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis delivers a speech during the 3rd Budapest Demographic Summit in Varkert Bazar conference center in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The Hungarian capital city, which hosts the international summit for the third time after 2015 and 2017, welcomes politicians, scientists, church dignitaries and public personalities to give presentations and exchange their experiences on current population trends. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary's prime minister says low birth rates and falling population figures must be boosted by economic incentives to families, not immigration.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban also said Thursday at a conference on demography that he believes a turn in low birth rates may be achieved when having children will be economically more beneficial to families than not having them.

Orban also said that the strengthening of Christianity in Europe was a precondition for the success of Hungary's demographic efforts.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis spoke about their countries' demographic challenges and praised Orban's family policy measures. They include tax breaks for families with more than one child, the construction of more nurseries and a life-long income tax exemption for women with at least four children.

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