Orban's Hungary fights an existential war

Orban is fighting internal and external disintegration.

Giulio Meotti, | updated: 22:58

giulio meott
giulio meott
צילום: עצמי

“A democracy disappears”, wrote Andrew Sullivan last April  in the New York Magazine, before Viktor Orban was confirmed Prime Minister of Hungary. The fear was for the so called “illiberal democracy”. Orban is the leader of the “other Europe”. The troublemaker. The bad boy of the EU.

The Hungarian premier, from migrants to liberalism, is certainly the nemesis of Brussels, and that is why the European Parliament just sanctioned his country. A democracy certainly disappeared in Hungary, but not for the reasons given by Sullivan, but because of an appalling demographic crisis.

In June, Philip Auerswald, a professor at George Mason University, wrote in the New York Times that where population shrinks, usually in rural areas and small towns, populism sells. Hungary has a net loss of one person every sixteen minutes.

Orban leads one of the countries that suffered most under the frightening wave of depopulation. Last May, Orban accused liberal democracy of being the cause of the demographic suicide to which the country seems to have condemned. Hungary faces a crumbling future. The Hungarian population is at its lowest point in half a century, having steadily fallen from 10.709 million in 1980 to the current 9.799 million. The decline is now a record 0.5 percent a year.

There will be less than 8 million people in Hungary in 2050, with one in three over the age of 65. In 2060 there will be just 7.878.000 Hungarians.

Orban supports a “three-child policy” that since 2016 has provided married couples who have a third child with about $ 37,000, to be used for newly built homes, along with special loans and tax exemptions. These tax benefits and others are worth 40 to 250 thousand dollars in US dollars. A program that is unprecedented. But while speaking with Hungary Today, Pál Demény, demographer and world-renowned Hungarian economist, believes that the demographic collapse of his country is “irreversible”.

To understand Hungary's demographic drama we must take a look at the numbers. In the last forty years the population of Hungary has decreased by about 1 million people. And if this trend continues, Hungary in 2100 will have half the population it has today, just 5.4 million inhabitants (at best it will suffer a loss of 34 percent of the current population). The number of newborns decreased from 194,240 in 1975 to 90,350. Budapest does not want to end like Latvia, which has lost one-fifth of its population since it entered Europe, from 2.38 million to the current 1.95.

At the height of the communist regime, in the late '70s, there were 130 abortions every 1000 births. Today they have fallen to 31. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of abortions in Hungary has decreased by 22.9 percent, but remains rather high compared to the average of Western European countries. One in three pregnancies today end with an abortion.

In his diary of 1791, the German philosopher Johann Herder predicted that the Hungarian language and culture, and with them the Hungarian nation, would disappear, assimilated by its neighbors. In Hungary today there is a book, “Herder arnyékàban”, in the shadow of Herder. It is the great anguish of that nation.

That is why Orban is fighting mass Muslim immigration. He knows his country faces an apocalyptic existential crisis. 



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