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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

Last update: 1 April 2024
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  1. EU programmes
  2. Other Programmes
  3. Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

EU programmes

Hungary participates in the Erasmus+ Programme which funds the implementation of the European Solidarity Corps programme (referred hereinafter to as ESC). The Hungarian kick-off event of the ESC (Európai Szolidaritási Testület) was in December 2018. In 2018, Hungary sent 311 ESC volunteers abroad, and the total budget was about HUF 631 million (EUR 1.61 million). The target group is young people between the age of 18 and 30.

The specific objective of the ESC programme is to provide young people, including those with fewer opportunities, with easily accessible opportunities to engage in solidarity activities that bring positive change in the EU and beyond, while enhancing and adequately validating their competences and promoting their active citizenship.

Three types of activity can be implemented under humanitarian aid:

  • individual volunteering,
  • group volunteering,
  • complementary activities.

Individual volunteering: a volunteer aged 18-35 joins a host organisation in a third country for 2-12 months to help with the day-to-day operation of the organisation.

Group volunteering: teams of 5-40 volunteers join the organisation for 2-8 weeks to carry out a clearly defined activity such as distributing food, cleaning up an area or organising animation events for children in a refugee camp.

Complementary activities: any activity that raises the visibility of the project, spreads the ideals of the importance of volunteering and solidarity or reinforces the impact of the project such as meeting, conference, coaching or training.

Results of the ESC programme

According to Ministry information in 2022, in the 2021-2027 budget cycle more than HUF 400 billion (about EUR 1.02 billion) fund is available for circa 270 000 young people to perform voluntary activities or own solidarity project. From 2022, young people have the opportunity to participate in humanitarian voluntary activities outside Europe. The target group of this activity is between the ages of 18-35.

In the 2022 application year, a total of 39 projects in Hungary received funding. 254 young Hungarians began voluntary service, 101 of them in Hungary and 153 abroad. 209 young people from abroad came to take part in volunteer projects.

Other Programmes

The State Secretariat for the Promotion of Persecuted Christians in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium) coordinates the preparation and implementation of the Hungary Helps Volunteer Programme, in cooperation with a non-profit organization, the Hungary Helps Agency. Their voluntary organization body is the Hungarian League of Volunteers Association. It aims to connect the Hungarian youth volunteers living in the neighbouring countries and help them to implement projects, work together and to apply for different resources through applications. It mainly operates in Transylvania, Vojvodina and Hungary.

Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

There is no specific legal framework for foreign volunteers in Hungary. The standards, defined in the EU Regulation on establishing the ESC, are applied to cross-border, international voluntary activities and to the conditions necessary for these activities.

The Act LXXXVIII of 2005 on Public Interest Volunteer Activities (Volunteer Act) (2005. évi LXXXVIII. törvény a közérdekű önkéntes tevékenységről) regulates the activities of the foreign volunteers:

'A citizen of a state which is not a state party of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (except for persons recognised as refugees or persons in a refugee-like situation, immigrants or permanent residents, and relatives in the direct line or spouses of citizens of a state party of the Agreement on the European Economic Area) may pursue public interest volunteer activity if the host organisation has concluded liability insurance covering damages caused by the volunteer; meals, accommodation and return transportation of volunteer is provided for; and the volunteer is eligible to healthcare services or has an insurance covering the costs of healthcare services.'