Our future depends on whether we stand by the family
Supporting the birth of desired children has become a fundamental principle of Hungarian family policy, said President of Hungary Katalin Novák at the closing event of the Mária Kopp Memorial Year in Budapest on Friday.
Katalin Novák said that Mária Kopp was perhaps the first to point out that the state - but not only the state - has a job to do in countries where fewer children are born than what young people dream of.
Decades ago, she recognised that "our future depends on our commitment to the family". She not only raised awareness of the problems, but helped us to find solutions and answers," said the Head of State about the founder of the Three Princes, Three Princesses Movement.
The President recalled that they missed meeting by just a hair, because when Mária Kopp "left us" ten years ago, Katalin Novák had just started working for Hungarian families. As the President said: “I am still very sad that I had not had the opportunity and the joy of meeting Mária Kopp in person”.
"For ten years, we have been coming across the legacy of Mary Kopp all the time, and "I can be part of building her legacy"," said Katalin Novák, citing as an example the close cooperation with the Three Princes, Three Princesses Movement.
She continued: a major contribution to building the legacy of the psychologist and physician Mária Kopp was the establishment of the Kopp Institute for Demography and Families (in Hungarian: KINCS) in 2018, the Year of Families.
She noted that Mária Kopp would "perhaps not be satisfied" with the results of the last ten years, but she would see and appreciate that the struggle is ongoing. Perhaps she would appreciate that Hungary has seen the biggest increase in the willingness to have children, a doubling of the marriage rate and a halving of abortions, she added.
In her words, Mária Kopp might also be able to help us with "how to go on", because the last two or three years seem to have made the decision to have children and start a family more difficult again, Katalin Novák said, referring to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, among others.
Katalin Novák also stressed that the demographic crisis can only be overcome by an alliance between men and women, and emphasised the importance of a positive outlook on life. It is not enough to drift, she said, it is necessary to take the lead. As an example she recalled Mária Kopp's refusal to resign herself to the Hungarian demographic situation. The same was true for issues of values, she added, pointing out that "we must stand up for the values we believe are eternal".
The President of Hungary concluded her speech by saying that "Today, rather than lamenting that Mária Kopp is no longer with us, that after turning 80, she could not live to see the present time, we are rejoicing that we Hungarians once had a Mária Kopp".