“The Holy Father is well aware of the efforts from Central European governments to preserve those values which others throughout the continent neglect,” Eduárd Habsburg, Hungarian ambassador to the Vatican, told La Verita, the Italian newspaper.
He said that while the demographic crisis in Italy gets progressively worse, Hungary has managed to achieve some impressive results thanks to the forward-thinking policy of the government.
“I’d like to ask Italy: More births, more children. Our country needs them,”
– he said, quoting the words of Pope Francis who recently encouraged Italians to become mothers and fathers to find a way out of the country’s demographic winter.
Eduárd Habsburg highlighted that Hungary identified the threat of the demographic crisis early enough and has been incentivizing families with over ten years of stable support. A large family is not a hobby but a contribution to society. Material support for families is essential as is the example set by leaders. It is no coincidence we often see Prime Minister Viktor Orbán alongside his family as well as President Katalin Novák with her three children.
“Home construction subsidies, tax breaks, and support for buying family cars are all political steps that improve the lives of Hungarian families. Pope Francis is incredibly familiar with the Hungarian government’s family support policies,”
– summarized the ambassador. He recalled that Viktor Orbán’s meeting with the Pope focused on the importance of the relationship between mother, father and children within the family. “We feel that the Holy Father and the Holy See encourage us in this,” he added.
The ambassador also mentioned that in Brussels, Hungary and Poland are often accused of losing European values. “But just think about it – if the founding fathers returned, where would they find true European values: in Brussels or in Central European countries?” said the ambassador during his interview. He also mentioned that though faith has weakened throughout Europe, there are signs of hope in Hungary; this was underscored by the 300,000-strong crowd that Cardinal Péter Erdő led during the torchlight procession before the Eucharistic Congress held in Budapest in 2021. Drawing on his personal experience, Eduárd Habsburg added that as a father of six, he can never become a consumerist or individualist person – rather, the feelings of solidarity and belonging to a community and nation become stronger as time passes.
Photo: MTI/AP/Andrew Medichini