Rather than welcome in immigrants, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has come up with an expensive plan to boost the population.
In his state of the nation address on Sunday, Orban said that any woman who has four or more children won't ever have to pay income tax again. "In all of Europe there are fewer and fewer children, and the answer of the West to this is migration," he said. "They want as many migrants to enter as they are missing kids, so that the numbers will add up. We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender." He also said families with several children will receive mortgage help, and more spots will open at nursery schools.
Hungary is dealing with a dwindling population due to Orban's anti-immigration stance, young workers leaving the country, and low birthrates. He angered many Hungarians by enacting legislation that lets employers demand overtime from workers, The Washington Post reports, likely an attempt to address the labor shortage. Now, Hungary's population is about 10 million, but that's expected to plummet to 8 million by 2050. Orban didn't say how his proposals will be funded, and they still need parliamentary approval. Catherine Garcia
Since Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators have filled the streets of Budapest at night, protesting against Viktor Orban, the country's right-wing prime minister, and new laws ushered in by his Fidesz party.
Sunday's protest was the largest, with at least 10,000 people gathering to walk from Heroes' Square to parliament. During the spring election, Fidesz received 49 percent of the popular vote, but the party changed the rules so its lawmakers control two-thirds of the parliament. On Wednesday, Fidesz lawmakers approved a measure that critics have dubbed the "slave law," which lets employers ask staffers to work up to 400 hours in overtime every year. Under the law, the overtime payments could be postponed for up to three years.
Even Orban's own supporters don't agree with the law, with a new Republikon Institute poll showing that 63 percent disapprove. The protests are being organized by unions, students, and opposition parties. In addition to the law being changed, these demonstrators are calling for a free press and an independent judiciary. The protesters have been peaceful, Reuters reports, but police officers still fired tear gas into the crowd on Sunday night. Catherine Garcia