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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Hungary

Hungary

1. Youth Policy Governance

1.4 Youth policy decision-making

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

 

With the aim of 'bureaucracy-reduction', the Government, formed in 2010, integrated into one top institution the former separately existing ministries, as a result of which, youth policy was integrated into the largest administrational body, the Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma) (until 2012: Ministry of Human Resources).

Youth policy (along with sports and drug issues) was under the supervision of the State Secretariat for Youth and Sport between 2010 and 2014, after 2014 it was assigned to the State Secretariat for Family and Youth Affairs, where youth policy is on the level of the State Secretary and the person responsible is the Deputy State Secretary for Young People.

The structure has undergone minor changes after the 2018 elections, but the top-level authority responsible for youth affairs remained the Ministry of Human Capacities. As of 1 October 2020, the former State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs was appointed as the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families (Családokért felelős tárca nélküli miniszter). The Deputy State Secretariat for Young People was moved to that organisational unit, and as a consequence, only some parts of the previous structure remained at the Ministry for Human Capacities.

Based on the Government regulation no. 94/2018. (V.22.) on the tasks and on the functions of the members of the Government [94/2018. (V.22.) Korm. rendelet a Kormány tagjainak feladat – és hatásköréről] the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Familes is responsible for:

  • the family policies,
  • children and youth policies,
  • for the tasks related to the protection of children and youth.

The following parts (struktúra) reflect the situation in force until 1 October 2020:

The State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs coordinates the following bodies:

State Secretariat Cabinet for Family and Youth Affairs (preparation of the work of the Secretariat, reviewing professional materials)

Department of Strategy and Coordination for Population, Family and Youth: its relevant objectives include

  • the contribution in creating and expressing opinions in proposals related to policy fields controlled by the state secretary,
  • contribution in budget planning, and
  • contribution in analyses of research and best practices in the field of youth policy.

The department also cooperates with the Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families in monitoring and creating decision support studies.

Deputy State Secretariat for Family Policy

Deputy State Secretariat for Youth Policy and Creating Opportunities

Department of Youth Affairs: its main aims include

  1. codification;
  2. coordination of cross-sectoral policies and objectives originated from the Future of the New Generation Programme (Új Nemzedék Jövőjéért Program);
  3. drafting the action plans of the National Youth Strategy;
  4. coordinating the National Strategy on Volunteering;
  5. supporting municipal youth work;
  6. 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 of Finance (Pénzügyminisztérium) must be mentioned as the Ministry coordinating the Youth Guarantee Scheme (for further information see chapter 3. Employment & Entrepreneurship).

The role of Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families [Kopp Mária Intézet a Népesedésért és Családokért (KINCS)] in youth policy-making is also notable as a budgetary body founded in 2018 by the Government and directed by the minister responsible for family policies.

The most important advisory body on youth policy was (until 2017) the National Youth Expert Forum [Ifjúsági Szakmai Egyeztető Fórum (referred hereinafter to as ISZEF)].  It 'was set up in 2013 to support coordinated policy-making in the field of youth and to monitor the implementation of the National Youth Strategy 2009-2024 […]'. 

Roundtable for Youth (Kerekasztal a Fiatalokért)

As of 2017, the National Youth Expert Forum became inactive and the Roundtable for Youth took over its role, where the Government is coordinating with the participating youth organisations and experts on a regular, bi-monthly basis. According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2019, the participants of the Roundtable (who are invited by the Deputy State Secreter for Youth Policy and Creating Opportunities), were the leaders of the most important organisations related to youth policy.

The most important role of the organisation was fostering the conversation between the Government and youth: the Government provides information on current developments of youth policy and the leaders of the organisations are able to

  • comment,
  • ask questions or
  • indicate their planned programmes.

The main result of their activity so far was a questionnaire, which was sent out by the Ministry for the members of the Roundtable (and for a wider target group also). The topic of the questionnaire was the future focus of youth policy. The Ministry summarized the feedbacks by topics, and they are going to involve them in the strategy documents in the future.

Due to the pandemic situation, the Roundtable was not convened in 2020, and according to the information provided by the Ministry in 2020, the body is planned to go through a modification.

 

Main Themes

 

The main themes of youth policy in Hungary, according to the information provided by the Ministry of Human Capacities, mostly focus on

  1. fostering family formation and childbearing of young people, by supporting their housing acquisition and supporting the reconciliation of work and family,
  2. support for proper housing for those planning to start an independent life,
  3. career guidance
  4. significant increase the rate of youth in youth volunteering,
  5. strenghtening young people’s local communities, and
  6. involving youth more in sustainability.

The rules for organisation and operation [16/2018. (VII. 26.) EMMI utasítás az Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma Szervezeti és Működési Szabályzatáról] of the Ministry from 2018 listed the following tasks, which relate specifically to youth policy, as controlled by the State Secretariat for Family and Youth affairs until 1 October 2020:

  • children’s and youth policy,
  • tasks related to the framework Programme for the Future of the New Generation (Új Nemzedék Jövőjéért Program),
  • encouraging the cooperation among generations,
  • government policy related to volunteering,
  • in the field of family and youth policy – cooperation with the Secretary of State for international affairs – professional tasks in connection with the international bilateral and multilateral connections and EU membership,
  • tasks related to the National Talent Programme (Nemzeti Tehetség Program)
  • tasks related to children and youth camps under the framework of Elisabeth-programme.

The tasks of the Deputy State Secretary of State for Youth Policy Creating Opportunities and are the following:

it represents the Ministry in the given field in the work of national and international governmental and other institutions, boards, interest forehand provides them with information on governmental plans, decisions and statements that affect them, and it is responsible in their field for the professional preparation, amendment, and implementation of legislation, the management of connections with other secretaries and departments, and for the contribution to drawing up and implementation of strategic and financial measures.

The Deputy State Secretary is responsible for the operation of

  • the Council of the Children and Youth Fund,
  • the Hungarian Youth Conference, and
  • for the coordination, implementation and realisation of the Digital Child Protection Strategy of Hungary.

Besides these, the responsibilities of the Deputy State Secretary include coordination support for the Hungarian Youth Conference (Magyar Ifjúsági Konferencia) in the field of partnership between Hungarian youth organisations in Hungary and the neighbouring countries and contribute to ministerial tasks related to student- and leisure sports.

What informs the choice of themes

According to the National Youth Strategy, large-scale quantitative youth research studies are to be carried out every four years, the findings of which are to be used in strategic planning, as well. Although there is no institutionalised way of using the results of the youth research, these are often referred to when introducing new policy measures (for example data on relatively low levels of young people with language exams led to making the option of acquiring the first language exam free for people under the age of 35).

Besides this, the Framework Programme for The Future of the New Generations plays a more important role in strategical planning, especially since there is no current action plan related to the implementation of the National Youth Strategy (the latest had the scope of 2016-17). Furthermore, as referred to above, the Framework Programme-related tasks are assigned to a higher, the state secretariat-level, whereas the NYS is coordinated by the Department of Youth Affairs [according to the operational rules of the Ministry, the department is responsible for drafting the action plans].

Besides these, according to the information provided by the Ministry in 2018, the Government emphasises the role of channelling young people into decision making, via representative organisations (such as the National Youth Council and the National Conference of Students’ Unions).

Specific target groups

Supporting population policy

According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2018, specific target groups include young people about to start a family. Measures related to promoting childbearing and starting an independent life are connected to them, most importantly the Family Housing Allowance Programme (CSOK) administered by the Ministry of Finance. This type of allowance is also expanded to used properties from 1 July 2019. 

Besides this, firstly married couples are eligible of tax allowances, the system of family tax benefit aims to support families with children, and there are programmes targeting parents doing their tertiary studies (the 'graduate' childcare benefit, the suspension or termination of student loan payment obligation with regard the number of children). (For related information please see sub-chapter 4.6 Access to quality services.)

Married young couples have another support scheme available from 1 July 2019 based on the Regulation on 44/2019. (III.12.) [44/2019. (III. 12.) Korm. rendelet a babaváró támogatásról]: couples where women are between 18 to 40 years and who live in their first marriage could be qualified to a maximum of HUF 10 million (about EUR 30 000), interest-free, general purpose loan. Certain reductions depending on the number of children also exist. The state is the third-party guarantee and also gives credit to the banks. This opportunity is available until 31 December 2022. In 2020, the budget was around HUF 26 billion (about EUR 72 750 000), in 2021 67.6 billion (about EUR 190 000 000). (For related information, please see sub-chapter 4.6 Access to quality services.)

Young people living abroad

Connections with Hungarians living outside the borders appear in several youth policy programmes, most importantly the 'Borderless' ('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 5.3 billion HUF (about EUR 14.5 million) is planned for the programme. By 2019 around 300 000 students participated (részvétel) in the programme.

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

youngsters could travel into 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

The young entrepreneurs are also supported by the 'Enter to the market!' programme ('Lépj a piacra!' program) aiming to prepare and support young people to start their own business. The programme started in 2017. The association which organises this project is supervisored by the Ministry of Finance.

 

The National Agency for Youth

 

There is no national agency for youth in Hungary, however there is an organisational network which fulfils this role. The national agency (Mobilitas National Youth Service) was founded in 1995 and existed until 2012 when New Generation Centre (Új Nemzedék Központ) took over its roles. In 2020, the community places were closed down, and the Centre's tasks were passed to its legal successor, Elisabeth Youth Fund [Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap (hereinafter referred to as EYF)]. EYF was founded by the state of Hungary and the Elizabeth for the Children of Carpathian - Basin Foundation exercises its ownership rights.

The EYF's Directorate of Youth Profession Programmes (Ifjúságszakmai Programok Igazgatósága) coordinates the EU-financed project (HRDOP-1.2.3-CCHOP-15-2015-00001: Complex Youth Developments – New Generation Reloaded) that aims to provide methodological support as well and become the successor of Mobilitas for the duration of the project. The full budget of the project is HUF 4.423 billion (about EUR 13.7 million). Further activities (tevékenységek) of the Directorate include:

  1. methodological support for youth experts and organisations,
  2. methodological support for municipal youth work and municipal volunteering,
  3. methodological support for volunteering and hosting organisations, spreading the culture of volunteering, supporting volunteer programmes,
  4. developing national and international connections between youth experts, 
  5. creating and maintaining databases related to youth profession,
  6. harmonising youth-related activities of different sectors,
  7. operation of a network of youth profession mentors,
  8. professional support for the social participation of young people,
  9. tasks related to the development of the digital skills of young people,
  10. tasks related to adult education and further learning of teachers.  

Policy monitoring and evaluation

 

As mentioned before, the main tool for policy monitoring and evaluation is the large-scale youth research carried out every four years, but ad hoc researches are also completed occasionally, mostly related to policy fields where youth is targeted too (for example family policy and voluntary activities). There are no institutionalised mechanisms for applying the results of the research, but those are regularly referred to when formulating strategic documents, background materials and measures. Besides that, the role of the Roundtable for youth can be mentioned, where experts and representatives of young people provide regular feedback on youth policy implementation.