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National Youth Strategy 2009-2024 (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia 2009-2024)
In 2009, the Parliament adopted the National Youth Strategy 2009-2024 (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia 2009-2024, referred hereinafter to as NYS) with the parliament Decision No. 88/2009 [88/2009. (X. 29.) OGY határozat a Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégiáról]. Its aim is
- to give long term directions for the improvement of living conditions of youth,
- to help all the stakeholders of the field in order to plan, to organise, and
- to implement measures related to youth.
The Strategy as a core document determines the main directions of improvement through the implementation of specific action plans, which take into account the constant revision of the conditions.
Programme for the Future of the New Generation 2012 (Új Nemzedék Jövőjéért Program 2012)
In addition to the sustainable frameworks of NYS, the Government also launched its framework programme called Programme for the Future of the New Generation (Új Nemzedék Jövőjéért Program) (referred hereinafter to as PFNG), which came into force as a Government Decision. The programme is financed by EU grants.
The National Youth Strategy
The overall aim of the Strategy is to 'help exploit the resources young people possess and support the social integration of age groups', which is to be implemented through the system of horizontal and specific aims.
The document sets out the implementation guidelines and timeframes and identifies the relevant administrative or executive authorities. The Government established two-year action plans for the implementation of the Strategy.
The main aim of the Strategy is
- to determine the direction of the development of young people,
- to create a social environment that helps the improvement of living conditions, and
- to support youth workers in shaping, organising, and implementing the policy measures.
The NYS is based on the following principles:
- integration and participation,
- solidarity and responsibility,
- success and value creation,
- subsidiarity and transparency,
- independence and development.
Responsibility of the state, horizontal objectives
The Strategy considers youth as a resource; therefore, its main aim is to support young people in individual and community activities. The responsibility of the state appears mainly in
- fostering integration into adult society,
- maintenance of the necessary institution system and
- providing services.
The horizontal objectives of the Strategy
'Fostering equal opportunities – To prevent social exclusion and marginalisation of youth groups and young people.
Living the identity of being Hungarian and European - To develop the relationship between Hungarian youth living in Hungary and beyond the borders, pass down their cultural traditions to future generations; and to represent in youth policy actions the values and objectives of the social and youth policies declared by the European Union and the Council of Europe.
A liveable environment – To develop society’s approach in order to meet the set of criteria for sustainable development.' (National Youth Strategy)
Development of the environment required for the successful social integration of youth groups:
- Having children, family - to strengthen the social, economic and mental conditions of youth required for having and raising children and enhance the establishment and safety of their family environment,
- Self-sufficiency - improving the employment and housing of young people,
- Equal chances, solidarity - improving the employment and housing of young people.
Equal opportunities, solidarity – to reduce the chances of social exclusion and marginalisation and improving opportunities for social mobility. (National Youth Strategy)
Empowering youth groups and their communities:
- Learning and its environment – to provide competitive knowledge and develop competences required for independent living,
- Creating cultural values, culture mediation – to improve the quality of cultural consumption and participation in culture, reduce regional inequalities, improve access to info-communication, enhance coping and cooperation in an intercultural environment,
- Awareness raising and social integration – to strengthen social and individual responsibility and awareness of youth groups (health, sustainable development, and so on), facilitate their integration and develop their communities. (National Youth Strategy)
Supporting youth work and the work of non-governmental youth organisations:
- Civil society – to create conditions that enable the participation of youth organisations in providing services, to make use of the experience of youth organisations and members of the age group and to represent youth-specific criteria in governmental decision-making,
- Resources and conditions – to establish and operate a transparent resource allocation system supporting youth initiatives and the youth profession,
- Youth policy, the youth profession, youth work – to strengthen youth policy and the enforcement of child and youth rights, to elaborate the training portfolio and life path model of youth assistance and youth profession. (National Youth Strategy)
Specific target groups
The Strategy does not explicitly define specific target groups, but the objectives related to inclusion and solidarity underline the role of targeting young people with fewer opportunities, with disabilities. It also highlights equality between men and women, and different needs of young men and women must be taken into account in the planning, implemention and monitoring of the Strategy.
The adoption of the Strategy
The adoption of the Strategy was preceded by a large-scale consultation in which non-governmental organisations, 'the youth profession' and youth organisations of political parties took part. The consultation lasted about half a year, which is why it was adopted with a consensus in the Parliament. The preparation of the action plans was not based on such consultations, but the role of consultative bodies (mainly the National Youth Expert Forum) was considered.
Programme for the Future of the New Generation (PFNG)
The programme identified four areas for intervention:
- housing and starting a family,
- career and self-sufficiency,
- leisure time – sport, entertainment and consumption of culture.
The tasks of this programme were formerly assigned to the Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma) but recently the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökséget vezető miniszter) took over the youth policy field. The programme is implemented through the services of the Elisabeth Youth Fund [(Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap) legal successor of the New Generation Centre)]. When the New Generation Reloaded program started, the contact points were renamed to community spaces, but in 2020, because of the pandemic situtation, these were closed down before the end of the project.
In 2020, the former State Secretariat for Family and Youth Affairs was reorganised and was working with the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families. From 1 January 2022, the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökséget vezető miniszter) took over the role of the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families.
The Department of Youth Affairs (Ifjúságügyi Főosztály) belongs to the Deputy State Secretariat for Youth Affairs (Fiatalokért Felelős Helyettes Államtitkárság) under the Parliamentary State Secretary Responsible for Families (Családokért felelős parlamenti államtitkárság) which is under the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökséget vezető miniszter). These units are primarily responsible for the implementation of the Strategy (and for the coordination of the intergovernmental elements).
The monitoring processes of the youth strategy include large sample youth research projects conducted in every four years on a representative sample of 8 000 15-29-year-olds. The findings of the survey are often referred to in youth policy planning. Besides these surveys, the action plans of the youth strategy also have indicators and monitoring processes. The latest research was conducted in 2020 (Magyar Fiatalok 2020). The Department of Youth Affairs follows the publication of the results of each cycle, and uses the findings to strengthen or the revise the NYS.
In addition to these surveys, the action plans of the youth strategy also have indicators and monitoring processes. The most recent notable public evaluation of the Strategy is called Hungarian Youth 2020 (Magyar Ifjúság 2020), edited by the National Youth Expert Forum, published in 2013. The document evaluates the second action plan of the strategy and drafts recommendations for the third (2014-2015). The main conclusions of the document strengthened the role of the large-scale youth research projects and called for a robust cross-sectoral cooperation.
According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2020, NYS is planned to remain without major changes in action till 2024, and its future implementation will take into account the European Youth Strategy 2019-2027. Further direction of the Strategy includes a stronger focus on family planning, work-life balance, housing, career guidance, community development, young people's mental health, sustainability and reflection on positive and negative impacts of digitalisation.
According to information from 2021, the pandemic situation also required various interventions in youth sector which were mainly coordinated by the Operational Board responsible for managing the epidemic and the Operational Board responsible for restarting community life in Hungary. The latter was operated only temporary in 2021 and the former Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families led the work of the Board.