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Demography is not simply one of the main issues, it is an issue on which the future of a nation depends, Giorgia Meloni, the Italian prime minister, said in her address to the 5th Demographic Summit in Budapest on Thursday. She said it was a top priority of her government to bring about a fundamental cultural change as regards the approach towards family affairs in Italy which, just as the rest of the western world, is hit by a serious demographic crisis. The number of births fell, and a strong anti-family atmosphere has developed; the image of the family gradually faded in the media and has been taken over by individuals as consumers. “We live in an era when the most important elements of our identity are under attack, and yet without this identity we are just numbers, tools in the hands of others”, she said. Fewer and fewer children are being born in Europe, so resources must be mobilised to support families, as Hungary perfectly exemplifies, the Italian prime minister said. Thanks to the government’s efforts, Hungary has managed to reverse the deteriorating fertility rate, the number of marriages and the number of the employed has increased, and, very importantly, the number of the employed among women increased, Giorgia Meloni said. She said the Hungarian example shows that with a family-friendly policy, women do not have to choose between work and family. Real freedom is when women can choose to have children alongside work, and Hungary is a good example for this, Meloni said. Many people believe that migration can help ensure prosperity, she said, adding that she did not accept this view. Nations must assume responsibility for their own future, she argued. Meloni said she had been shocked by the recent controversies related to the 1956 uprising against the Soviets. “1956 was not only an uprising against a foreign power, but also an uprising against those who wanted to destroy the foundations of Hungarian identity: family, national identity, and religion,” she said. There are pages of history that cannot be rewritten, she said. “We see the same thing in Ukraine today, and this cannot be accepted,” Meloni said. Bulgarian president Rumen Radev said the rivalry between societies in the digital 21st century will no longer be about territory, but about human capital, as this is the most important value. He noted that over the past ten years his country lost 12% of its population, largely due to emigration. Expanding the family support system will help support this, but the most important thing is to strengthen the rule of law and fight corruption, he said.