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Foreign Minister: Immigration No Answer To Europe's Demographic Challenges

Ferenc Sullivan 2015.10.27.

Speaking at the ICON Economic Policy Forum in Monday in Budapest, Hungary’s foreign minister claimed that immigration is “no answer” to the labour market and demographic challenges faced by Europe. Arguing that migration is the answer to labour market challenges is irresponsible both politically and in terms of economic policy because there are sufficient reserves in the European labour market for the continent to be able to internally settle its labour market difficulties, he said.

However, Mr. Szijjártó also pointed out that if certain countries believe that immigration is the solution to labour market and demographic challenges, “that is their business”, but this does not mean that this should become a common European policy. The answer lies rather in training the Hungarian labour force, mobilisation and effective family policy, the leader of the Hungarian diplomatic service argued. Hungary’s unemployment rate is currently at 6.7 per cent, which counts as low even by European standards, Mr. Szijjártó pointed out.

As for demographic challenges, the answer lies in family policy. An effective family policy, policies to encourage having children could prove to be the solution for the whole of Europe but this is certainly the case for Hungary in subduing demographic challenges, he added. Families must be assisted to be able to have children and the Hungarian government has gone to great lengths to achieve this goal, Mr. Szijjártó said, pointing out that the country is able to manage demographic challenges thanks to its successful family policy and “probably” Europe would be able to do the same, he argued.

photo: Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI