Poland is looking at what elements of Hungary’s successful conservative family policies her country can borrow, Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy Marlena Maląg told Hungarian daily Magyar Hírlap in an interview.
“I was deeply impressed by the measures taken in the framework of the family-friendly policy and what Hungary has achieved so far in this area. I admire not only the courage with which further initiatives have been taken, not only the unity and consistency of action, but, most importantly, the impact that change will bring,” Maląg said. “I believe that the exchange of experiences between our countries is not overrated in this form, as it is worthwhile to apply proven solutions.”
She said that at the last meeting of the family ministers of the Visegrád Group countries, which include Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland, it was decided to set up a working group to monitor in detail certain elements of the family-friendly policies of these countries.
“We would like to examine, among other things, whether some of these can be introduced in Poland. Of particular interest to us is the solution that has had an impact on the increase in the number of marriages and the decrease in divorces in Hungary.
Hungary’s pro-family policies have seen a number of successes recently, with Hungarian Family Minister Katalin Novák saying last year: “The recent demographic figures speak for themselves, the number of marriages is at its 40-year high, the fertility rate at its 20-year high, while the divorces haven’t been as low as last year in the last six decades,” She said added that the country has favored policies that grow the country’s population without relying on mass migration seen in many other European countries.
“Protecting marriage is an immeasurably important part of a family-friendly policy,” Maląg said. Speaking of her own country’s family policies, Maląg pointed our that for the past five years, family policy was one of the focal points of the Polish government.
Family is a pillar of society
“The family is a pillar of society, the first community in human history to have emerged before the formation of statehood. Over the centuries, there has been no better environment for the birth and upbringing of children. The family offers the most valuable gift possible: new citizens. Without a family, the development of our society would not have been possible. In and out of the family, we are able to meet our most important human needs, including: security, togetherness, respect, recognition, and self-fulfillment,” Maląg said.
“In a family we learn love, generosity, selflessness. The family surrounds us with protection and concern… The importance of the family can be perfectly observed even during a pandemic, when our lives were limited to our home. Most of us would not have survived this time without the family that became our protection, support, and refuge in this extremely difficult time. That is why the family is a treasure for the Polish government that must be protected.”
There is no LGBT persecution in Poland
Asked about her government’s LGBT policies often criticized in Western media, Maląg said that while the conservative Polish government and the constitution consider marriage as the union of a man and a woman, that does not mean that others’ rights are curtailed. She denied the existence of so-called “LGBT-free zones” in Poland, a story that has been proven to be misinformation, but which nevertheless has been widely reported.
“Our constitution states that the Republic of Poland protects marriage as an alliance of men and women, as well as family, motherhood and fatherhood. This obliges our government to take special measures for the benefit of the family, this is our priority. At the same time, any measure taken in favor of families that is required by our constitution cannot be applied against someone else. It would take extraordinary malice to see it that way,” she said.
“Respect for the freedom of all Poles is very important to us. The same is true for LGBT people. This is also confirmed by the OSCE report that there were 16 hate crimes against LGBT people in Poland in 2019, compared to 574 in the Netherlands, 278 in Spain and 248 in Germany.”
Title image: Polish Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy Marlena Maląg.