4.2 Administration and governance
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Equal treatment and creating opportunities
In Hungary, as of January 2021, the Directorate-General for Equal Treatment (Egyenlő Bánásmódért Felelős Főigazgatóság) under the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights 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 Directorate-General for Equal Treatment is the only competent authority (apart from the Court) which takes legal action in cases of discrimination.
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.
Equal opportunities and inclusion
Most often, it is the local municipalities that are responsible for the providing and ensuring of equal opportunities and inclusion in Hungary. In order to ensure the fulfilment of this task, since 1 July 2013, municipalities can only receive support from state funds, European Union subsidies or other funds provided by international agreements if they have an Equal Opportunity Programme (Helyi Esélyegyenlőségi Program, referred hereinafter to as HEP) that complies with the regulations in the Act of CXXV of 2003. The municipalities have to prepare this Programme in every 5 years and review it in every 2 years.
The HEP are based on
- action plans related to the problems of disadvantaged groups and
- analyses of social, educational, employment, health and housing issues and situations.
To help local municipalities in creating effective and lawful HEP, the Directorate-General for Creating Social Opportunities (Társadalmi Esélyteremtési Főigazgatóság) offers advisory and compliance service by its network of equal opportunity mentors according to a Government Decree [321/2011. (XII. 27.) Korm. rendelet].
Tasks related to the creation of equal opportunities are performed by the Family, Equal Opportunity and Voluntary Houses [(Család, Esélyteremtési és Önkéntes Házak), referred hereinafter 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:
- organising events to change the attitude of the society,
- cooperation with civil and church organisations in the field of equal opportunities,
- cooperation with the Directorate-General for Equal Treatment,
- organising programmes for families in the topic of changing attitudes.
Youth policy is mainly administered in the Ministry for Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium) under the State Secretariat for Families, in the Deputy State Secretariat for Youth Affairs and the Department of Youth Affairs. According to the Organizational and Operational Rules of the Ministry [3/2022. (VIII. 8.) KIM utasítás] the Minister 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) since 2019. The role of this Deputy is, among other things, to coordinate policies in the area of social inclusion and facilitate complex interventions. This is because the social inclusion of the vulnerable (including the Roma) groups is an important priority for the Hungarian Government. The Deputy State Secretariat is responsible for creating strategies and for coordinating, monitoring and reviewing their implementation. Furthermore, it coordinates the issues related to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategy. [National Social Inclusion Strategy 2030 (Magyar Nemzeti Társadalmi Felzárkózási Stratégia 2030) referred hereinafter to as NSIS 2030]
The other government actor related to social affairs is the Deputy State Secretariat for Social Affairs under the Ministry of Interior (Belügyminisztérium). It is responsible for the social and economic development programmes aiming to support
- the social and child welfare services,
- the child protection system,
- the people with disabilities and
- the social development policies.
Besides these, a new post has been created next to the Minister for Regional Development in the government formed in 2022. The former Deputy State Secretary for Youth Affairs has been appointed to a ministerial representative. The main role of the ministerial representative - among others - is to monitor the situation of young people in disadvantaged regions and make proposals to the Minister to ensure equal treatment. (For more information on the tasks of the ministerial representative, see sub-chapter 1.4 Youth policy decision-making)
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),
- 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
- Prime Ministerial Commissioner (miniszterelnöki biztos).
The Inter-ministerial Committee for Social Inclusion and Roma Affairs: The committee was created to synchronise the government work in the fields of economic developments and social inclusion aiming to help the permanently indigenous and Roma people. The Committee also works to improve the situation of the low-skilled and others living in disadvantaged areas. The Committee meets at least twice a year. Its members are delegated from different ministries and the Hungarian Central Statistical Office.
The Human Rights Working Group and Human Rights Roundtable: The Roundtable is a consultative and cross-sectorial body to facilitate professional dialogue. The role of the Roundtable is to make proposals, provide comments and advise on human rights issues. The purpose of the group is to consult with civil society organisations, advocacy groups, professional associations and constitutional bodies and to support professional communication on human rights in Hungary.
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: This independent institution operates under the supervision of the Ministry for Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium) and is responsible for the complete cycle of application and grant management in the field.
The Directorate-General for Social Affairs and Child Protection: is one of the central budgetary bodies, subordinate to the Minister of the Interior (Belügyminisztérium) and acts as a central agency. It is responsible for drawing up methodological guidelines and technical recommendations, maintaining social and child protection institutions, coordinating and implementing social and child protection programmes. [Governmental Decree 316/2012. (XI. 13.)] [316/2012. (XI. 13.) Korm. rendelet a Szociális és Gyermekvédelmi Főigazgatóságról]
Government Commissioner: the government has appointed a Government Commissioner for Roma Relations who is responsible for coordinating and implementing the Roma strategy and facilitating social consultation between various NGOs and the government. [1297/2022. (VI. 17.) Korm. határozat a roma kapcsolatokért felelős kormánybiztos kinevezéséről és feladatairól]
NGOs and other forums with delegates from the state and civil society
NGOs and other forums with delegates from the state and 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),
- NGOs and religious organisations,
- Network of Catholic Roma Colleges (Keresztény Roma Szakkollégiumi Hálózat),
- Roma Colleges (Roma Szakkollégiumok),
- Hungarian National Roma Platform,
- business actors,
- National Youth Council (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács). (For more information, 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 33 members: Minister of Interior, State Secretaries, representatives of civil society organisations, Roma minority self-governments, churches and leaders of Directorate-General for Equal Treatment and Hungarian Central Statistical 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 on 'Be Better for Children!' National Strategy 2007-2032 [47/2007. (V. 31.) OGY határozat a 'Legyen jobb a gyermekeknek!' Nemzeti Stratégiáról, 2007-2032] and the monitoring related processes. This Evaluation Committee gives recommendations, among others, regarding the social inclusion of disadvantaged students. It has 13 governmental (including the State Secretary for Welfare from the Ministry of Interior and delegate from the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta) and 13 civil members and they last met online, in February 2021.
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 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.
Roma Colleges: The aim of the Roma colleges is to support Roma youth to continue their studies after secondary school and obtain a higher level of education. It aims also at increasing the chances of disadvantaged students (not only Roma youth) to enter the labour market after graduation. Roma specialised colleges are awarded on the basis of a professional opinion of the Council of Roma Specialised Colleges. [24/2013. (II. 5.) Korm. rendelet a nemzeti felsőoktatási kiválóságról]
According to the Ministry information, previously the Roma Colleges were funded by EU funds but since 2018, the government has been supporting Roma colleges from the central budget. The amount of support was
- EUR 350 000 (HUF 140 million) in 2018 ,
- EUR 1.3 million (HUF 550 million) in 2019, and
- from 2020 about EUR 1.3 million (HUF 546 million) was provided in each year.
Since 2011, the number of Roma students has steadily increased: in 10 years, the number of students has doubled. 410 students have obtained a diploma by the end of the academic year 2019/2020 and 90% of them has got a job.
Hungarian National Roma Platform: The European Commission has been funding the programme since 2016. It aims at implementing the objectives of the NSIS 2030, engaging in dialogue and evaluating the results and the failures. Its members are local decision-makers, public authorities, national Roma self-governments, civil and church organisations, public service providers, Roma and non-Roma stakeholders. According to the Ministry information, in the last 3 years it has been present in 9 counties, 33 municipalities with over 3000 participants and will be held in 5 more counties in 2022.
Business actors: As part of their corporate social responsibility strategies, business actors also support social and economic development programmes.
Focusing on the youth field, the activities and role of the National Youth Council (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács) is also should be highlighted. (For more information about the National Youth Council see sub-chapter 5.3. Youth representation bodies.)