Hungary, like many other European countries, is currently struggling to achieve positive population growth. In simple terms, the country is slowly dying out. But with Hungary being the 26th most innovative country in the world, you can rest assured the government would have a solution up its sleeve to remedy and avert what seems to be, nothing but a certain, self-inflicted extinction. And it does!
Drawing from the reactions of EU political figures, in particular with regards the recent hoo-hah around the country’s lack of respect for EU values, it would appear that Hungary has a special way about how it deals with certain issues. Leaving aside the heated debate on the discriminatory nature enshrined in the narrow definitions of marriage and family that feature in Article 1 of the 4th amendment to the Constitution, there seems to be little doubt in government’s commitment to tackling the country’s low birth rates.
The Secretary of State for Family and Social Affairs, Miklós Soltész, has recently announced that the budget will set aside funds to pay for dance night parties with a purpose to help young students who are too busy with their academic commitments to find the love of their life. The Secretary of State has promised that the parties will be accompanied by debates and lectures on how to best choose one’s partner and eventually set up a family. The pilot scheme, with a budget of almost two million forints, will be first introduced in Budapest and eight other cities across the country.
In the midst of negativity that has recently engulfed the discourse on Hungary here in Brussels, the country and Europe deserve some good news at last. Let us not always focus only on what is bad. Sure, being a student in Hungary has its downsides. But it also has its benefits. The government may well play with the idea of requiring students to having to work in the country for ten years after their graduation – in order to avoid the so-called brain drain – but in return students will have the opportunity – call it a courtesy of the taxpayer – to enjoy free parties. And if they are lucky enough, many may even stumble along their lifelong partners. From the outside, life in Hungary has never seemed more bizarre!