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National Youth Strategy 2009-2024 (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia 2009-2024)
The National Youth Strategy 2009-2024 (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia 2009-2024, hereinafter referred to as NYS) was adopted as a parliament resolution with 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)
Besides 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) (hereinafter referred to as PFNG), which came into force as a Government Decision. The programme is based on project-finance principle and implemented within the framework of New Generation Plus followed by the New Generation Reloaded Programme (Új Nemzedék Újratöltve). The programme is financed by EU grants and is in close cooperation with other projects of the Government such as the Digital Immune Strengthening Program (Digitális Immunerősítő Program). (For further information see sub-chapter 6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media).
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 determines implementation guidelines and time frames and appoints the administrative or executive authorities responsible. The Strategy is implemented via two-year action plans set up by the Government.
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 regards youth as a resource; thus, its main aim is to support young people in individual and community activities. The responsibility of the state appears especially in
- fostering integration into adult society,
- maintenance of the necessary institution system and
- providing services.
The horizontal objectives of the Strategy are the following:
- Fostering equal opportunities,
- Living the identity of being Hungarian and European,
- A liveable environment.
'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,
- Equal chances, solidarity.
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 – to enhance the employment and housing of young people.
Equal chances, solidarity – to reduce the chances of social exclusion and marginalisation and increase the possibilities of social mobility. (National Youth Strategy)
Empowering youth groups and their communities:
- Learning and its environment,
- Creation of cultural values, culture mediation,
- Awareness and social integration.
Learning and its environment – to provide competitive knowledge and develop competences required for independent living.
Creation of 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 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,
- Resources and conditions,
- Youth policy, the youth profession, youth work.
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 doesn’t explicitly define specific target groups, however, the objectives related to integration and solidarity underline the role of targeting young people with fewer opportunities, with disabilities. Besides, it is underlined that equality between men and women, and different needs of young men and women must be taken into consideration while planning, implementing and monitoring 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 went on for about half a year, which is why it was adopted with a consensus in the Parliament. The creation of the action plans did not rely on such consultations, however, the role of the consultative bodies (most notably the National Youth Expert Forum) was taken into account.
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 programme was assigned to the former Ministry of Public Administration and Justice and was implemented through the services of the New Generation Centre (Új Nemzedék Központ). With this, New Generation Contact Points overtook the tasks of Mobilitas Regional Youth Service offices but at the same time, the former system of normative financing has changed to a project-based system. In the government cycle beginning in 2014, the administration of youth policy was reassigned to the Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma).
In 2020 the role of the New Generation Centre was passed to its legal successor, Elisabeth Youth Fund (Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap). 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.
The discussion paper of Programme for the Future of the New Generation
The discussion paper (ifjúságpolitikai stratégiai vitairat) of PFNG, published in 2011, identified the following main problems connecting to the keywords:
- Women’s status,
- Talent development,
- Starting a family,
- Active citizenship.
In 2020, the former State Secretariat for Family and Youth Affairs was reorganised and is now working with the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families. The following chapter is about the situation in force until 1 October 2020 – many youth related tasks are now carried out by organisational units of the new minister.
The Department of Youth Affairs (Ifjúságügyi Főosztály) of the Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma) is the primarily responsible body 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 carried out 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 carried out in 2016 [see the flash report in Hungarian: Magyar Ifjúság Kutatás 2016]. The Department of Youth Affairs follows the publication of the results of each cycle, utilising the findings for strengthening or the revising the NYS.
Besides these surveys, the action plans of the youth strategy also have indicators and monitoring processes. The latest 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 through its future implementation the European Youth Strategy 2019-2027 is taken into consideration. The further directions of the Strategy include a stronger focus on family planning, work-family balance, housing, career-guidance, community development, the mental health of young people, sustainability and reflection on positive and negative effects of digitalisation.