Viktor Orban has insisted that bringing more immigrants in is not the right way to tackle low birth rates in Europe.
"There are fewer and fewer children born in Europe. For the West, the answer is immigration. For every missing child there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine," Orban said in his annual state of the nation address on Sunday, as cited by Reuters.
"But we do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children."
In a bid to boost birth rates, Orban promised a lifetime income tax exemption for women with four or more kids. He also said that families with at least three children will get a subsidy of nearly $9,000 for the purchase of a seven-seat vehicle, and that women under the age of 40 who marry for the first time will get a low-interest loan of over $35,000.
These costly incentives will reportedly be financed from general reserves or surplus revenues in the 2019 budget.
Viktor Orban, who leads the governing Fidesz Party, has emerged as one of the most prominent right-wing European politicians. He has largely campaigned on the issue of immigration, securing a fourth term as prime minister last April. Two months after his re-election, the Hungarian parliament passed the so-called "Stop Soros" bill, which criminalised aid to illegal immigrants and made it harder for immigrants to seek asylum in Hungary.
Orban has repeatedly accused American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros of encouraging mass immigration in order to undermine European states, and the new legislation forced the Soros-funded Open Society Foundations NGO to pull out of Hungary.