“We must find a common language that can lead us to a just peace as soon as possible,” President Katalin Novák said on Facebook after meeting former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. This was the reason, Novák said in an English-language post, she had accepted French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to the international Peace Forum in Paris. The president said she started the day by visiting “Hungary’s long-standing friend”, Sarkozy, whom she called a representative of the “grand generation”. She noted that the former president had been a “prominent shaper of French and European public life for a long time”.
Novák said her discussion with Sarkozy had centred on “how much Europe and the world needs Hungary acting as a bridge”. “We Hungarians are not only geographically located at the meeting point of East and West, North and South, but also understand the various nations and people, and are able to mediate between them,” Novák wrote.
Novák said she held a lecture on Hungary’s family policy and demographic challenges at the Institut de Philosophie Comparee in Paris later on Thursday. The president noted that fertility rates are below 2 in all European countries, the ratio necessary to maintain the population. “The fact that Europe’s population is growing is not a natural process but a result of immigration,” she said. Hungary’s population has been declining for four decades, Novák said. Therefore, family policy has been strong in the past 10-12 years, with the government focusing on narrowing the gap between the number of children couples strive to raise and the number they end up having. Hungary spends 6.2% of its annual GDP on family support in various forms such as the home purchase subsidy (CSOK), and forgiving university fees after the third child, she said.
Referring to the war in Ukraine, Novák said that over 200 ethnic Hungarians have died in the war so far. The situation is “extremely fragile”, and escalation should be avoided at all costs, she said.