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Equal treatment and creating opportunities
In Hungary, the Equal Treatment Authority (Egyenlő Bánásmód Hatóság), which was established in December 2004, is responsible for supervising the enforcement of equal treatment based on the Act of CXXV of 2003 on the equal treatment and the promotion of equal opportunities (2003. évi CXXV. törvény az egyenlő bánásmódról és az esélyegyenlőség előmozdításáról). The Equal Treatment Authority is the only competent authority (apart from the Court) which takes legal action in cases of discrimination. (NSIS, 2014 p. 118)
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights (Act CXI of 2011 on the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights) who has taken over the tasks of formerly 4 separate Ombudsmen (dealing with general issues, future generations, ethnics and data protection) has a crucial role in creating equal opportunities. The Commissioner has 2 deputies:
- the Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities and
- the Ombudsman for Future Generations. (NSIS, 2014 p. 118)
Equal opportunities and inclusion
Mostly it is the local municipalities which are responsible for the provision and safeguarding of equal opportunities and inclusion in Hungary. To guarantee the fulfilment of this role, since 1 July 2013 municipalities can only receive support from state finance, European Union subsidies or other funds provided by international agreements, if they have a strategy on the provision of equal opportunities that complies with the regulations in the Act of CXXV of 2003 modified by the Act LXXXVI of 2012. These equal opportunity strategies are to be based on
- action plans related to the problems of disadvantaged groups and
- analyses of social, educational, employment, health and housing issues and situations.
Furthermore, it is an important prerequisite that these strategies are created in line with the rules that bind local municipalities to make achievements and changes possible to follow up on the national level. (NSIS, 2014 p. 119)
To help local municipalities in creating effective and lawful equal opportunity strategies, the Directorate-General for Creating Social Opportunities (Társadalmi Esélyteremtési Főigazgatóság) offers advisory and compliance service by its network of equal opportunity mentors according to the Government Decree 321/2011. (XII.27.) [321/2011. (XII. 27.) Korm. rendelet a helyi esélyegyenlőségi programok elkészítésének szabályairól és az esélyegyenlőségi mentorokról].
Tasks related to the creation of equal opportunities are performed by the Family, Equal Opportunity and Voluntary Houses [(Család, Esélyteremtési és Önkéntes Házak), hereinafter referred to as CSEÖH] on the national level. The primary responsibilities of these houses are to deal with causes of discrimination and factors leading to disadvantages such as disabilities, sex, age or permanent indigence.
Among several other functions, they perform the following tasks:
- measures to change attitude, such as training, and so on. (NSIS, 2014 p. 118)
The governmental activities in connection with the youth social affairs belong to the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families (Családokért felelős tárca nélküli miniszter) within the Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma). According to 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 is responsible for the social affairs related to youth in the frame of youth policy. The Deputy State Secretariat for Social Inclusion belongs to the Ministry of Interior (Belügyminisztérium) from 2019.
The other governmental actor related to social affairs is the Deputy State Secretary for Social Affairs (Szociális Ügyekért Felelős Államtitkárság). The office held by the Minister of State for Social Affairs functions as an individual unit, which reflects the importance of the topic. It is responsible for the social and economic development programmes aiming to support the permanently indigenous (including Roma people). The main principles the office of the Minister of State applies in its work are the scope of complexity and regional as well as horizontal approaches. It aims to reach its goals in social inclusion and regional cohesion by harmonising different sectorial (educational, social, health, employment) policies and by initiating compound interventions. (NSIS, 2014 p. 119-131)
The Minister of State for Social Affairs is responsible for creating strategies and for coordinating, monitoring and reviewing their implementation. Furthermore, he/she acts as the contact for issues related to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. (NSIS, 2014 p. 119-120)
Other actors of social inclusion and integration at the state level
Other actors of social inclusion and integration at the state level are:
- Inter-ministerial Committee for Social Inclusion and Roma Affairs (Társadalmi Felzárkózási és Cigányügyi Tárcaközi Bizottság),
- Consultative Council on Roma Issues (Cigányügyi Egyeztető Tanács),
- Human Rights Working Group and Human Rights Roundtable (Emberi Jogi Munkacsoport és Emberi Jogi Kerekasztal),
- Minority Self-Governments,
- Human Capacities Grant Management Office (Emberi Erőforrás Támogatáskezelő),
- the Directorate-General for Social Affairs and Child Protection, as one of the successors of Türr István Training and Research Institute (Türr István Képző és Kutató Intézet).
The Inter-ministerial Committee for Social Inclusion and Roma Affairs: The committee was created to synchronise the governmental work in the fields of economic developments and social inclusion aiming to help the permanently indigenous and Roma people. The Committee also works on to improve the situation of low-skilled people and others who are living in disadvantaged areas. Its members are delegated from different ministries and the Hungarian Central Statistics Office.
The Consultative Council on Roma Issues: The council is responsible for drawing up the relevant strategy as well as supervising the implementation and cohesion of Roma policies. The chairman of the council is the Prime Minister, the council is co-chaired by the President of the National Roma Self-Government, while the members are ministers of related policy fields.
The Human Rights Working Group and Human Rights Roundtable: The roundtable is a consultative and cross-sectorial body to facilitate professional dialogue.
Minority Self-Governments: These self-governing bodies are in charge of the issues that concern the minority group they represent. They are responsible for representing the interests and preserving the cultural autonomy of the minority community.
The Human Capacities Grant Management Office (since 16 August 2012): This independent institution operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Capacities, and is responsible for the complete cycle of application and grant management in the field.
The Directorate-General for Social Affairs and Child Protection, as one of the successors of Türr István Training and Research Institute (terminated on 31 August 2016), is an institution of the Ministry of Human Capacities that provides training courses and professional support for the beneficiary districts and municipalities in the management of social development programmes. [Governmental Decree 253/2016. (VIII. 24.)][253/2016. (VIII. 24.) Korm. rendelet egyes kormányrendeleteknek a Türr István Képző és Kutató Intézet megszűnésével összefüggő módosításáról]
NGOs and other fora with delegates by the state and by civil society
NGOs and other fora with delegates by the state and by civil society dealing with social inclusion and integration:
- Roma Coordination Council (Roma Koordinációs Tanács),
- 'Better Chances for Children' National Strategy Evaluation Committee ('Legyen jobb a gyermekeknek!' Nemzeti Stratégia Értékelő Bizottság),
- Anti-Segregation Roundtable (Antiszegregációs Kerekasztal),
- NGOs and religious organisations,
- Network of Catholic Roma Colleges [Keresztény Roma Szakkollégiumi Hálózat (referred hereinafter to as KRSZH)],
- Business actors,
- National Youth Council (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács),
- Roundtable for Youth (Kerekasztal a Fiatalokért Fórum). (For more information please see sub-chapters 1.4 Youth Policy decision-making and 5.3 Youth representation bodies.).
The Roma Coordination Council: The council is responsible for drawing up strategic lines, supervising their implementation and giving feedback on cohesion policies contributing to Roma inclusion. The council meets twice a year. It has 29 members: representatives of civil society organisations, roma minority self-governments, churches and leaders of Equal Treatment Authority and Hungarian Central Statistics Office.
The 'Better Chances for Children' National Strategy Evaluation Committee: This committee is in charge of supervising the implementation of the Parliament Decision 47/2007 dated 31 May 2007 on 'Be Better for Children!' National Strategy 2007-2032 (2007) [47/2007. (V. 31.) OGY határozat a 'Legyen jobb a gyermekeknek!' Nemzeti Stratégiáról, 2007-2032 (2007)] and of monitoring related processes. This Evaluation Committee gives recommendations, among others, regarding the social inclusion of disadvantaged students. It has 13 governmental and 13 civil members and they last met online, in May, 2020 (találkozó).
The Anti-Segregation Roundtable: A forum for public education against segregation.
NGOs and religious organisations: These organisations perform diverse tasks linked to the area depending on the funding available.
The Network of Christian Roma Colleges [in short (HU) KRSZH]: In collaboration with the state, it provides special support to disadvantaged students in higher education. In 2011, there were four colleges in Hungary. In 2019, eleven colleges supported nearly 300 Roma students.
Business actors: As part of their corporate social responsibility strategies, business actors also support social and economic development programmes. (NSIS, 2014 p. 119-135)
Focusing on the youth field, the activities and role of the National Youth Council is also should be highlighted. (For more information about the National Youth Council see sub-chapter 5.3. Youth representation bodies.)