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Novák Katalin az Ave Maria Egyetemen - 2023.03.09.

Katalin Novák: the Christian political alternative is a viable path for both Hungary and the State of Florida

The presentation held by the President of Hungary at Ave Maria University in South-West Florida on Wednesday focused on the role of Christians in politics, the participation of youth in public life and the significance of Hungary’s family policy.

Katalin Novák, speaking to students at a private Catholic university on the last leg of her visit to the US, said that politics inspired by the principles of Christianity is based on respect for one another.

She pointed out that the Christian alternative to governance is workable in practice, rather than merely a theory. For its implementation, governmental power is necessary, because principles alone, without the power to act, achieve nothing. Similarly, executive power without good principles is likewise ineffective", she added. You need good principles, values, firm convictions and the appropriate position of power to put these values into practice," the President said.

The Head of State also emphasized that this Christian political alternative is a viable path, and added that in Florida - where the presentation was held –these principles clearly work in practice and can be attractive to the majority of people. This is perhaps the most important reason for standing by these principles, for never giving up – she underlined.

Speaking of the goals of Hungary’s Christian policies, the President highlighted freedom. She pointed out that Hungarians are "a nation of freedom-lovers”. "Visitors to Hungary will experience what true freedom means " – she added. As part of this freedom, she mentioned true freedom of speech, the freedom to think, and that in Hungary, people can live freely, which also means the possibility to enjoy freedom in daily life. People are free to say what they think and live the life they believe is right for them, without the risk of negative consequences – Katalin Novák explained.

She said it was regrettable that in many parts of the world today, the state talks about freedom, but in practice, if you don't go with the mainstream, you experience negative consequences.

As a practical example of the implementation of principles rooted in Christianity, she highlighted the family policy measures adopted by Hungary. Speaking of these measures to a Florida university audience, she emphasized Hungary’s hard work of over a decade for these goals.

She directed attention to the very challenging demographic situation Hungary found itself in at the time when these family policy measures were launched for the first time, and remarked that Hungary, similarly to the rest of the Western world, is afflicted with low birth rates. She pointed out that in a decade, however, the fertility rate in Hungary grew from 1.27 to 1.6, the largest improvement in Europe.

Hungary currently spends 6 per cent of its GDP on family support, a very high ratio compared to NATO's expectation that member states spend 2 per cent of their gross domestic income on defence – Katalin Novák remarked. Among the elements of family support in Hungary, the Head of State highlighted the reduction of personal income tax subject to the number of children and the fact that mothers with 4 or more children enjoy lifelong exemption from personal income tax.

She told her audience, which was largely made up of students, that in Hungary, the repayable amount of a student loan shrinks in proportion to the number of children born, and that total forgiveness is granted after the birth of three or more children. As a third family policy measure, she drew the attention of her Florida audience to Hungary’s housing support scheme.

“We believe that if there are no children, there are no families and there is no future," the Head of State said, adding that children are the guarantee of the future and that the doubling of the marriage rate and the reduction in the number of abortions by a third also prove the effectiveness of Hungarian family policy.
Referring to her own personal experience, the advice the Head of State gave to the American university students was that it is not worth missing having children and a family.

As part of her official programme in the United States, Katalin Novák gave a speech at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, and also had a meeting with the Governor of the State of Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis received the President of Hungary in Tallahasse, the capital of Florida, on Tuesday. The two politicians met for the first time.

Sándor Palace Head of Communication told MTI that the President of Hungary and the Governor of Florida have a common stance in upholding traditional values, like the protection of the family, the right of parents to bringing up their children or the protection of borders. Vajk Farkas also pointed out that Ron DeSantis spoke about Hungary’s achievements with recognition, in particular highlighting the efforts of the President of Hungary to protect families.