Katalin Novak: “For me being the mother of three children is more important than any public position I may hold”.

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The Minister of State for Family and Youth in the Hungarian Government talked about the keys to ensuring an improvement in youth unemployment indicators in Hungary. She also discussed the keys to making the balance between public spending on older people and on children more sustainable.

The Minister of State for Family and Youth, Katalin Novak, visited UIC Barcelona recently, since she had been invited by the Institute for Advanced Family Studies (IESF), and gave a talk in the Saló de Graus room. The session was attended by representatives of the third sector, public administration staff, companies, and members of the university community. 

Katalin Novak talked about the keys that have ensured that Hungary has managed to improve the indicators for youth unemployment and make the balance between public spending for older people and for children more sustainable. Hungary, like the rest of Europe, is suffering the consequences of a demographic winter that has made the active population of the future, and the welfare state, teeter on the edge.

Despite having lost 8% of its population in recent years, Hungary surpasses (at 1,44 children per woman) the low average demographic in the EU (1,15 children per woman) and also that of Spain (1,32).  “We have detected -explained Novak- that there is an enormous gap between real fertility and desired fertility.  For that reason, to be fair to that aspiration and to make our system more sustainable, we have implemented family policies that are now starting to have an impact on indicators such as rates among females and young people”.

“When the family is the central focus of social policy then this changes the shape of society and its future.   Hungary has managed to become a family friendly society in which it is not strange to have this personal project - whether you are a man or a woman- at a specific moment of your professional career.  “For me being the mother of three children is more important than any public post I may hold”.

In her talk, Novak highlighted the various family policies implemented in that country: the extension of leave for parents with children under three, improvements to catering for children in state schools, training plans to improve childhood nutrition, direct and progressive aid as the number of children goes up, and help to pay for the primary home, whether it is new or not. This increases according to the number of children in the family.

This country has also made a strong effort to raise awareness in society via awards, campaigns and websites via which citizens can obtain information and resources to improve their work-life balance.

During her stay in Barcelona, the Minister of State for Family and Youth, also held a meeting with the Director of the IESF, Montserrat Gas, as well as the rector of the university, Dr Xavier Gil, and representatives of the Family Platform - Catalunya UN.  She attended along with the Hungarian Ambassador to Spain and the Hungarian Consul for Barcelona.