Golden Prague cityscape at sunset (illustrative image)

Czechs are dying out, says PM Andrej Babiš

The population of a good country is rising and this growth is not replaced by immigration, the PM said in a speech in Budapest

Budapest, Sept 5 (CTK special correspondent) – The population of a good country is rising and this growth is not replaced by immigration, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said in his speech at a conference on demography in Budapest today.

He also expressed support for families with at least three children.

The figures are clear – Czechs are dying out, Babiš said.

Though the life expectancy has been rising dramatically, the long-term prospects of the Czech population development are not optimistic, he added.

A good state can be identified by its inhabitants living without fears for the future and the number of its inhabitants rising without population growth being replaced by migration from abroad, Babiš said.

He called demographic changes a time bomb that would fully explode in several decades.

The Czech Republic and the other Visegrad Four (V4) countries, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, have a unique opportunity to show that Central Europe is the region where people are living well, a safe space with the best conditions for families with children, Babiš said.

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The birth rate in the Czech Republic is 1.7 children per woman, which is the highest figure of all V4 countries, but it still does not reach the simple reproduction level, that is 2.1 children per woman, Babiš reminded.

According to Babiš , families could afford one or two children even without various state incentives as people do not have children to get some form of support.

Every support for the family is right, but the state has now “a much harder nut to crack” – how to help the families that would like to have three and more children, which means very high spending from the family budget, Babiš pointed out.

The Czech Republic lacks a sufficient offer of flexible forms of work, such as part-time jobs, he added.

The issue of demographic changes is not as popular as the climate issue, but the consequences of low birth rate and population ageing may be serious in the same way, Babiš said.

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The two-day demography conference, which ends on Friday, is held by the Hungarian government and attended by politicians and church representatives.

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said in his speech at the conference that the statement saying migration can solve the population decline on a global scale must be rejected.

Orban, who has long criticised excessive migration and refugees’ inflow to Europe, announced a series of tax and other financial benefits in support of families this year.

This spring, the Hungarian parliament passed a bill that would secure, among others, an interest-free loan of an equivalent of 785,000 crowns to married couples on condition the woman in the couple is under 40.

hol/mr/pvr

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