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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.4 Youth policy decision-making

Last update: 1 April 2024
On this page
  1. Structure of Decision-making
  2. Main Themes
  3. The National Agency for Youth
  4. Policy monitoring and evaluation

Structure of Decision-making

Since 2010, with a brief interruption in 2021-22, youth policy has been part of the ministry responsible for cultural policies and human capacities. Until 2020, the same ministry was responsible for social and education policy, but in 2022, social policy and public education (as well as healthcare) were transferred to the Ministry of Interior (Belügyminisztérium).

Since 2022, youth policy is part of the Ministry of Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium). Under the Minister, the State Secretariat for Families is responsible for youth policies. The Deputy State Secretariat for Young People is under that unit.

Based on the Organizational and Operational Rules of the Ministry, the Minister of Culture and Innovation coordinates the activities of the State Secretary for Families.

As the person responsible for child and youth policy, the State Secretary for Families:

  • provides professional and political leadership in the field of youth policy,
  • is responsible for the development of youth policy,
  • performs tasks related to strengthening intergenerational cooperation,
  • coordinates the system of cooperation with young Hungarian people in the Carpathian Basin outside Hungary's borders,
  • monitors the implementation of children's rights,
  • carries out tasks related to volunteering, and
  • manages tasks related to talent management.

The State Secretary also has development and management tasks related to youth programmes, such as

The following structure reflects the situation in force:

The State Secretary responsible for families coordinates the following bodies:

  • Deputy State Secretariat for Family Affairs (preparation of the work  of the Secretariat, review of professional materials),
  • Deputy State Secretariat for Young People which coordinates the Department for Young People and the Department of Talents.

The Deputy State Secretariat for Young People:

  • represents the ministry in the work of domestic and foreign governmental and other institutions,
  • is responsible for the technical preparation, initiation and implementation of youth related legislation,
  • establishes links with the institutions and professional organisations in its field of activity,
  • operates the Board of the Children and Youth Fund (Gyermek és Ifjúsági Alapprogram Tanácsa),
  • cooperates with the Hungarian Youth Conference in order to promote dialogue between domestic and foreign youth organisations and cross-border programmes,
  • cooperates with the National Youth Council (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács) to promote professional dialogue between Hungarian youth organisations and the Government as well as to represent Hungarian youth in Europe and globally,
  • contributes to the planning and implementation of government programmes for the digital protection of young people.

The Deputy State Secretariat for Young People also:

  • contributes to the design and implementation of programmes and services to protect the physical and mental health of young people,
  • mediates between student and youth representative bodies and governmental bodies to better promote the specific interests of young people,
  • participates in the implementation of governmental tasks related to the National Youth Parliament (Országos Diákparlament) and the National Student Council (Országos Diáktanács),
  • coordinates the tasks related to the UN Youth Delegate Programme,
  • contributes to the implementation and promotion of government programmes related to the National Talent Programme,
  • contributes to the development of the professional concept of youth camping programmes organised by the Government or a governmental background institution, with the exception of the Elizabeth Camps,
  • makes technical comments on the technical content of youth tenders launched by the National Cooperation Fund's College,
  • coordinates the implementation of tasks related to the National Talent Programme (Nemzeti Tehetség Program), and
  • cooperates in its tasks with the National Talent Centre.

The main aims of the Department for Young People:

  • codification,
  • coordination of cross-sectoral policies and objectives originated from the Future of the New Generation Programme,
  • contributing to the implementation and coordination of youth-related tasks arising from Hungary's membership of the European Union, cooperating with the Visegrad countries and other international memberships,
  • participating in the preparation of the youth and voluntary activities budget, developing its technical content and monitoring its use,
  • enforcing the principles, objectives and the corresponding implementation concepts of the National Youth Strategy, and periodically proposing its reinforcement or revision,
  • coordinating the National Strategy on Volunteering.

The Department for Young People also has tasks in the following fields:

  • supporting youth work,
  • establishing the system of professional supervision in the areas of youth policy and the system of qualifications and requirements for performing activities in these areas,
  • exercising responsibilities related to the operation of youth counselling centres,
  • supporting - in cooperation with the ministry under the direction of the minister responsible for local government - the activities of the network of municipal youth officers,
  • preparing methodological developments and activities, in particular for the development of local youth work, strengthening the capacities of youth organisations and service providers and developing the social activity of young people,
  • drafting and coordinating qualitative and quantitative youth researches.

The department consists of the Division of Youth Policy Programmes and the Division of Volunteering.

Besides this, the role of the Ministry for National Economy (Nemzetgazdasági Minisztérium) must be mentioned as the ministry that is coordinating the Youth Guarantee Programme (for further information see chapter 3. Employment & Entrepreneurship).

The role of the Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families [Kopp Mária Intézet a Népesedésért és Családokért (KINCS)] in shaping youth policy is also notable as it is a budgetary institution established in 2018 by the Government and recently headed by the Deputy State Secretary for Family Affairs.

The Board of the Children and Youth Fund 

Until 2020 designated bodies existed for fostering inter-governmentality and dialogue with relevant non-governmental actors in the youth policy field (till 2017 the National Youth Expert forum operated, between 2017 and 2020 the Roundtable for Youth took over its place).

The main advisory body is currently the Board of the Children and Youth Fund (Gyermek és Ifjúsági Alapprogram Tanácsa). The Board provides the minister responsible for children and youth policy with proposals, opinions and advice. It is chaired by the representative of the field of child- and youth policy in the ministry responsible for children and youth policy – currently the head of the Department for Young People. The other members are representatives of the youth related organizations such as:

For more information on the Board, see sub-chapter 5.3 Youth representation bodies.

Main Themes

According to the 2024 information of Deputy State Secretariat for Young People, the main current themes of youth policy in Hungary have four main domains:

  • improving the mental health of young people,
  • developing the culture of volunteering,
  • solidarity with Hungarian communities in Transcarpathia affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war, and
  • the introduction of cheaper county and country public transportation passes.
Mental health

In the field of mental health improvement, the government has provided increased support for mental health first aid telephone services such as the Blue Line (Kék Vonal) mental health support service, the Hungarian Association of Mental Health First Aid Telephone Services (Magyar Lelki Elsősegély Telefonszolgálatok Szövetsége), and the Association for Mental Health for Youth (Ifjúsági Lelki Elsősegély).

Besides that, the Deputy State Secretariat for Young People launched the Mental Health Roadshow (Lelki Egészség Roadshow) programme in 2023, where 700 young people participated. The Children and Youth Fund (Gyermek és Ifjúsági Alap) had an application, titled 'In order in spirit' ('Lélekben rendben'), for supporting activities related to the mental well-being of young people. (For more information, see sub-chapter 7.5 Mental health.)


In 2023, focus group research was conducted on the topic of volunteering. In addition, the development of a new volunteering strategy was continued, summarising the professional orientations and tasks needed to promote and improve the quality of volunteering, and it was decided to implement new incentive tools that should lead to more young people participating in volunteering activities and social responsibility in higher education institutions in the coming years. (For more information on volunteering see Chapter 2.)

Solidarity with Hungarian communities in the Transcarpathian region

In consultation with representatives of youth organisations in Transcarpathia, targeted support was provided to communities organising programmes for displaced and refugee youth, which was increased compared to previous years. In addition, the Hungarian Scout Association of Transcarpathia received this year's Ministerial Award for Hungarian Youth for its outstanding educational work over the past three decades with which it has been binding the Hungarian youth of Transcarpathia to itself, preserving their Hungarian identity and traditions and building community.

What informs the choice of themes

According to the National Youth Strategy, large-scale quantitative youth research studies are to be conducted every four years, the findings of which are also to be used in strategic planning. Although there is no institutionalized way to use the results of the youth research, it is often referred to when introducing new policies (for example data on the relatively low number of young people with language exams led to make the opportunity to acquire the first language exam free for people under the age of 35).

In addition, the Framework Programme for The Future of the New Generations plays a more important role in strategic planning, especially since there is no current action plan related to the implementation of the National Youth Strategy (the last one referred to 2016-17). Moreover, as mentioned above, the tasks related to the Framework Programme are assigned to a higher level, the Ministry of Culture and Innovation and the NYS is coordinated by the Department for Young People.

In addition, according to the information provided by the Ministry in 2018, the government emphasises the role of involving young people in decision making, through representative organisations (such as the National Youth Council and the National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies).

Specific target groups
Supporting population policy

According to the ministry's information in 2018, specific target groups include young people who are about to start a family. They are targeted through measures designed to encourage childbearing and the start of an independent life, in particular through the Family Housing Support Programme (CSOK) administered by the Ministry of Finance. This type of subsidy has also been extended to second-hand properties as of 1 July 2019 and it was transferred into a new low-cost state-subsidised loan scheme (in Hungarian: CSOK Plusz) from 2024.

In addition, firstly married couples are eligible for tax allowances, the system of family tax benefit aims to support families with children, and there are programmes targeting parents participating in higher education (the 'graduate' childcare benefit, the suspension or termination of the obligation to pay student loans depending on the number of children).

For married young couples, from 1 July 2019 there is another support scheme based on the Regulation on 44/2019. (III.12.) [44/2019. (III. 12.) Korm. rendelet a babaváró támogatásról]: couples where women are between 18 and 40 years and living in their first marriage can receive an interest-free loan for general purposes of maximum of HUF 10 million (about EUR 25 600). In 2024, the upper age limit of eligibility was lowered to 30 years and the maximum amount of the loan was increased to HUF 11 million (about EUR 28 200). There are also certain reductions depending on the number of children. The state is the third-party guarantee and gives credit also to the banks. This option is available until 31 December 2024 (the government extended the deadline by two years at the beginning of 2023). 

For more related information, see sub-chapter 4.6 Access to quality services.

NEET young people

In 2023, a new cycle of the Youth Guarantee Programme is introduced (with the name Youth Guarantee Plus [Ifjúsági Garancia Plusz]) with a framework budget of HUF 196.9 billion (around EUR 504 million). The programme is targeting NEET young people between the ages of 15 and 30 years. It is based on three pillars - a wage subsidy, a rent subsidy and a contribution to travel costs. According to the government's plans, the programme will help around 84 000 young people into work between 2024 and 2029. Between 60 and 70 thousand of these will receive wage subsidies and between 25 and 30 thousand will receive training. (For more information, see sub-chapter 3.2 Administration and governance.)

Young people living abroad

Connections to Hungarians living outside the borders appear in several youth policy programmes, most notably the 'Without borders' ('Határtalanul') programme, which aims to build connections between Hungarian youth in public education and the ethnic Hungarian communities in the neighbouring countries. In 2021, a budget of HUF 5.3 billion (about EUR 13.5 million) has been dedicated for the programme. In 2019, about 300 000 students participated in the programme.

A smaller-scale programme with similar aims is the Petőfi Sándor Programme (Petőfi Sándor Program) in which

  • in 2023 36,
  • in 2022 21,
  • in 2019 73,
  • in 2018 71

participants were able to travel to the countries of the former Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy with the purpose of supporting and strengthening the scattered Hungarian communities. The programme is operated by the State Secretariat for National Policy of the Prime Minister's Office.

Young entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs are also supported through the 'Enter to the market!' programme ('Lépj a piacra!' program) which aims to prepare and support young people to start their own businesses. The programme started in 2017. The association organizing this project is under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance. (For more information on this and other programmes for young entrepreneurs, see sub-chapter 3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs)

The National Agency for Youth

There is no national agency for youth in Hungary. There was an organizational network that fulfilled its task until 2022. The development of an alternative organizational framework is currently not on the agenda.

Policy monitoring and evaluation

As mentioned above, the main tool for policy monitoring and evaluation is the large-scale youth research conducted every four years. However, ad hoc research is also conducted, usually on policy areas where youth are also affected (for example family policy and volunteering). There are no institutionalized mechanisms for applying the research findings, but they are regularly used in the formulation of strategic documents, background materials and policies. Also worth mentioning the main advisory body, the Board of the Children and Youth Fund (Gyermek és Ifjúsági Alapprogram Tanácsa).