Hungarian women who have at least four children will be exempt from paying income tax for the rest of their lives as part of an effort to reverse population decline, the country’s prime minister has said.
Right-wing leader Viktor Orban says new measures to increase financial aid and subsidies for families with multiple children will “ensure the survival of the Hungarian nation”.
The EU average for the number of children a woman will have in her lifetime is 1.58, but in Hungary, the average is 1.45.
Under Mr Orban’s proposals, a low-interest loan of 10 million forints (£27,286) will also be offered to women under 40 who are marrying for the first time.
Other benefits include a subsidy of 2.5 million forints (£6,849) towards the purchase of seven-seater vehicles for families with three or more children.
The prime minister, who was elected for a third consecutive term in April, hopes the measures will increase the country’s population without relying on immigration.
Mr Orban has repeatedly opposed immigration, particularly from Muslim countries, and adopted a zero tolerance approach.
However, Hungary’s population has been falling by 32,000 a year.
During his “state of the nation” speech, he described Europe’s left-wing as “the gravedigger of nations, the family and the Christian way of life”.
Mr Orban added: “Those who decide in favour of immigration and migrants, no matter why they do so, are in fact creating a country with a mixed population.”
He has accused the EU of wanting to fill the continent with migrants and claimed Hungarian-born financier George Soros is part of a conspiracy to destroy Europe by encouraging mass migration.
An anti-Orban rally was held by members and supporters of Hungary’s opposition parties after the prime minister’s speech, with protesters using cars to block traffic over the Danube River.
The event was also in protest of heavy fines imposed on a number of opposition parties, which they claim were politically motivated and aimed at hindering their European parliament and municipal election campaigns.