Why did Hungary say ‘no’ to immigration?

The Danube Institute director explained to Ezra that because Hungarians have always had a fear of being wiped out ethnically and culturally, their government is focusing on growing their population by incentivizing citizens to have children instead of encouraging mass immigration.

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This is just an excerpt from The Ezra Levant Show. To see new, ad-free episodes, which air Monday - Friday @ 8 p.m. ET | 6 p.m. MT, become a subscriber to RebelNews+. This episode originally aired on July 20, 2023.

On last night’s episode of The Ezra Levant Show, Ezra was joined in Budapest by Istvan Kiss, the executive director of the Danube Institute, which is a think tank designed to promote Hungary on the world stage.

Ezra told Istvan that he had learnt that because there are so few Hungarians, Hungary has always had a desire to preserve the ethnic nature of the country. 

Ivstan further explained this:

Well, if you want to understand the Hungarian psyche, what you were saying is very important. So Hungary was always, well during its history sometimes was much bigger than it is today, but it always was relatively small compared to the Slavic countries in the neighborhood, or the German countries in the neighborhood. So if you look at some of the earliest examples of Hungarian literature, you were already very afraid of getting, you know, destroyed or basically assimilated by the Slavic or the German people of the region. So there's this constant fear of Hungarians, that are a unique language in the middle of Europe without any real language, and relatives in the region will just slowly disappear. And I think the government understood this Hungarian mentality, and that's one of the reasons why they are successful in the elections as well.

Ezra asked him how the current government administration in Hungary is trying to ‘get more Hungarians’.

Istvan answered:

I think in Western Europe, there's this concept that it's two things basically. One is that you cannot really do anything about a demographic situation. So because of several reasons, but people will not have more kids and partly because of this, but also because it's good for your economy and all the other usual theories, immigration is a better way to basically increase your population and maintain your society's welfare system. And I think our government chose a completely different path. They said no to this. And they said that you can actually help your own people to have more kids.

Because if you look at the literature, then actually a lot of even in Western Europe, even in very progressive countries like Sweden, most of them actually want to have more kids just because of economic reasons, mostly they just think that they cannot have more kids. And because of this, the government party, yes, in Hungary, introduced several policies which will try to help people who are working to have more kids and kind of give economic benefits, or at least cut back some of the disincentives to not have kids.

He explained some of the ways Hungary is incentivizing Hungarians to have more children:

There are several policies, there are tax breaks. So one interesting policy is that actually if you have four kids as a woman, you will never have to pay personal income tax, but even as a man, or even if you have one kid, two kids, and three kids, there are several tax breaks. So for example, I have two kids, and I pay less taxes as a person who has no kids.

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