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Hungary

Hungary

5. Participation

5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making

On this page
  1. Formal Mechanisms of Consultation
  2. Actors
  3. Information on the extent of youth participation
  4. Outcomes
  5. Large-scale initiatives for dialogue or debate between public institutions and young people

Formal Mechanisms of Consultation

Neither in Central Europe, nor in Hungary it is easy to involve young people in political decision-making processes, because only a small number are interested in public policy.

National Youth Council [Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács (referred hereinafter to as NIT)] and Hungarian Youth Conference [Magyar Ifjúsági Konferencia (referred hereinafter to as MIK)] are such strategic partners. The National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies (Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája) and the Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Candidates [Doktoranduszok Országos Szövetsége (referred hereinafter to as DOSZ)] have more declared rights in certain areas of legislation (for example in higher education). Not only in education but also in another respect, they establish youth organisations.

For example:

These, and other strategic partners of the Deputy State Secretary for Youth Affairs, provide opportunities for young people to articulate their needs towards the Government. (See more details in sub-chapter 5.3 Youth representation bodies)

Legal provisions or policy guidelines on youth consultation

Although there is no stated or binding law on how young people should be involved in consultation processes, young people have the opportunity to express their views on all matters that affect them. All ministries have the right (declared by law) to agree on strategic cooperation with those youth organisations that could assist them with legislation. [Act CXXXI of 2010 on public participation in developing legislation (2010. évi CXXXI. törvény a jogszabályok előkészítésében való társadalmi részvételről)]

One of the Government's decision [the Action plan for 2016-2017 of the National Youth Strategy (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia 2016-2017-re vonatkozó Cselekvési Terve)] states that the Government should support the development of meaningful dialogue between young people and decision-makers. In addition, it is also important to strengthen the participation of young people in society in order to promote youth and their communities, and to ensure continuous cooperation between the social actors involved in youth work.

Levels on consultation

On ministry level, the Deputy State Secretary for Youth Affairs also provides a forum for consultation with youth organisations through one formation: the Board of the Children and Youth Fund (Gyermek és Ifjúsági Alapprogram Tanácsa). (For more information please see sub-chapter 1.4 Youth policy decision-making)

The above mentioned (strategic partner) national organisations also hold regular consultations with their members, where they can represent the current situation of youth. NIT has 2 general assemblies per year, and additional consultations are also held in the capital and in the countryside on a project-by-project basis where local decision-makers and young people can have a dialogue on specific issues.

With regard to education policy, the National Youth Parliament (Országos Diákparlament) has an important role in representing the recommendations of the students.

At the local level, there is no mandatory framework for how young people should consult (except for student councils at schools). Local consultations are depend on local governments.

Method of consultation

The Deputy State Secretary for Youth Affairs and the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökséget vezető miniszter) invite the organisations. Some of the organisations invited are strategic partners of the government, others are organisations with a strong tradition representing a significant number of young people.

Regularity of consultations

The Board of the Children and Youth Fund (Gyermek és Ifjúsági Alapprogram Tanácsa) meets at least once in a quarter and write a report on its activities to the responsible minister twice a year.

The Deputy State Secretary for Youth Affairs and the NIT can have consultations on certain specific youth issues as well; these are mainly ad hoc consultations. At the local level, there is no mandatory framework on how young people should be consult (except for student councils at schools). Local consultations are depend on local governments.

At the national level consultations of key youth organisations and decision-makers are quite common (see above). MIK holds its national consultation twice a year as well as four meetings of the the Standing Committee (Presidency).

Actors

Among the actors of the youth field the

  • youth workers (or experts),
  • youth and student organisations (dealing with specific youth issues),
  • Ministry professionals who are not decision-makers and
  • student/youth councils operating at schools or at the local level should be mentioned who take part in consultation processes as members of an organisation or as individuals.

Specific target groups within the youth field are not treated separately from youth in general.

The authorities participating in the consultation processes in the youth field are mainly

Officers responsible for youth issues at local governments and local NGOs should be mentioned as additional stakeholders. The National Cooperation Fund (Nemzeti Együttműködési Alap) (see in sub-chapter 5.6 Supporting Youth Organisations) also tries to take into account the relevant needs. Certain for-profit organisations are important actors as well regarding articulating the needs of youth.

Information on the extent of youth participation

Youth organisations are the main participants in consultations at national level as they can represent young people. Individual young people may participate in consultations at local level or on specific issues. Sometimes 30-80 young people take part in consultations held by the National Youth Council [Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács (referred hereinafter to as NIT)] at the local level. They mostly discuss issues which are relevant on the local level with the delegates of NIT, NGOs, and other stakeholders, like in the nationwide project 'Step up!' ('Lépj fel!') or the National Youth Forum (Országos Ifjúsági Fórum) twice a year. Many of these young people are representatives of local school student councils.

On the other hand, this number is relatively small compared to the fact that sometimes up to 1 000 participants can take part in national events on important issues. For example, the Young Entrepreneurs Week (Fiatal Vállalkozók Hete) organised by the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (FIVOSZ) every year in autumn. A higher number of young people are involved in the Open University (Szabadegyetem) event organised by NIT.

Outcomes

The major outcomes of the consultations with young people are usually individual political decisions which were made based on the suggestions of these discussions; such as postponing or overruling a political decision, or establishing specific forums, for instance, the National Student Council (Országos Diáktanács).

All official data/decisions are publicly accessible ('Az Ország Diáktanács ülésének időpontja, napirendi pontjai, határozatai')  but sometimes in legal terminology in the Hungarian Official Journal (Magyar Közlöny).

Large-scale initiatives for dialogue or debate between public institutions and young people

The NIT developed a large-scale initiative, called the 'Step up!' ('Lépj fel!') programme, which was a series of programmes in all the counties of the country during a year. The aim was to bring young people and decision-makers together. They met around 500 young people and 100 decision-maker and collected 200 problems.

They measured the current problems of the youth in the frame of county Youth Days (Ifjúsági Napok) (consultation with the youth in the counties) and then discussed and developed solutions to these suggestions focusing on the following 7 main topics in connection with youth:

  • advocacy,
  • communication,
  • conflict management,
  • event management,
  • discovering the local needs
  • digital competencies – vlogs, blogs, social media and
  • negotiation techniques.