(ANSA) - ROME, JANUARY 14 - To counter the decline in births, the Hungarian government has decided to offer free reproductive technology, announced premier Viktor Orban himself, the BBC reported. At a press conference, Orban pointed out that fertility "is an area of national strategic importance." The country has seen a steady decline in births over the past decade. Last December the government brought six fertility clinics under state control. These clinics are likely to offer free fertility treatments from February 1. "Bringing fertility clinics under state control - Orban explained - will be useful to make the whole process completely transparent. Fertility treatments will no longer be provided on a commercial basis." The fertility rate in Hungary has halved in the past 50 years and is among the lowest in Europe, although in Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy you can find even lower rates. (ANSA).