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EACEA National Policies Platform
Hungary

Hungary

8. Creativity and Culture

8.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation

Governance

Systems related to the ministries and the Parliament

There are no state agencies that administer cultural policies explicitly aimed at youth. The most important bodies existing in relation with basic cultural care. Creativity and culture appear in the National Youth Strategy 2009-2024 (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia 2009-2024) which is administered by the Ministry for Culture and Innovation (For more information, please see chapter 1. Youth Policy Governance). 

Ministry for Culture and Innovation

In Hungary, since 2022, the framework of policies related to creativity and culture are represented in the Ministry for Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium), in the State Secretariat for Culture (Kultúráért Felelős Államtitkárság). The 3/2022. (VIII.8.) regulation of the Ministry for Culture and Innovation on the Organizational and Operational Policy of the Ministry (3/2022. (VIII. 8.) KIM utasítás) the responsibilities of the State Secretariat for Culture include:

  • to prepare the regulation of the cultural institutions,
  • to use available state resources to initiate and promote the creation of new cultural assets,
  • to preserve national and world cultural heritage assets in Hungary,
  • to manage the performing arts and the creative arts, not including the development of the national film industry and
  • to define and organise the guiding principles and programmes for the development of international cultural relationships, including activities aimed at further promoting Hungarian culture in the international area and promoting other cultures in Hungary.

Besides, as a youth policy related development, the Sára Sándor award (Sára Sándor-díj) has been founded in 2020. It can be awarded to creators (directors, cinematographers or screenwriters) under the age of 40, whose works primarily promoted the strengthening of national identity.

The Creative Europe Programme in Hungary is coordinated by Creative Europe Non-profit Ltd. (Kreatív Európa Program) and is supported by the Ministry and the National Film Institute (Nemzeti Filmintézet).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

There are some objectives and fields related to culture outside the Ministry for Culture and Innovation. The Department of Cultural and Science Diplomacy within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium) could be mentioned as the ministry dealing with cultural diplomacy and international cooperation in the field of culture. The minister in charge of culture is responsible for cultural diplomacy, while the network of cultural institutes in 26 cities in 24 countries remains part of the diplomatic corps supervised by the foreign minister. (Compendium, 2022)

Besides these, education and cultural diplomats (oktatási és kulturális diplomata) serve at eight Hungarian foreign representations in countries where there is no cultural institute (külföldi magyar intézetek). Among other tasks, these diplomats are responsible for increasing the number of foreign higher education students in Hungary, as well as to foster students and teachers to exchange. 

Ministry of Construction and Transport

Responsibilities related to cultural policies and heritage preservation are also apparent at the Ministry of Construction and Transport (Építési és Közlekedési Minisztérium). As of 2023, in terms of real estate heritage the Deputy State Secretariat for Heritage Preservation is responsible for the heritage protection issues. The movable heritage preservation belongs to the Inspectorate of Cultural Goods (Műtárgyfelügyeleti Hatósági Főosztály), directed by the State Secretary for Construction.

Prime Minister's Office

The Government Commissioner for the Development of Modern Municipalities also serves in the Office. The commissioner coordinates, among other tasks, the cultural developments under this programme.

The Parliament

'The single-chamber Parliament is in charge of legislation. In addition to its role in preparing laws, the Committee for Culture also fulfils supervisory functions by occasionally putting various issues related to culture on its agenda. On the whole, however, the Parliament and its Committees have only limited autonomy, in most cases reflecting the will of the government or the dominant parties.' (Compendium, 2016)

 

Other public institutions
National Cultural Fund of Hungary

One of the most important institutions for funding culture is the National Cultural Fund of Hungary (Nemzeti Kulturális Alap), founded in 1993, and currently chaired by the Minister for Culture and Innovation.

'Established by the Hungarian Parliament to support the creation, preservation and spread of national and universal values, this separate state fund is now running on 90 per cent of the gambling tax of Lottery 5 as its main revenue. It calls for bids to offer and award most of its disposable money to those who implement the winning programs through a system of social divisions. […] The main objectives of the National Cultural Fund of Hungary include stabilising funds and involving new incomes to increase its available tender budget. To this end, the Fund has signed several cooperation agreements with government agencies and NGOs in the past years, and its professional divisions have announced comprehensive support programs to reinforce the State’s engagement in the field of culture.' (Nemzeti Kulturális Alap)

Since 2017 the Fund's financial issues are handled by the Human Capacities Grant Management Office (Emberi Erőforrás Támogatáskezelő), which has a Directorate of the National Cultural Fund that handles objectives related to tendering. Decisions are made by the divisions of the Fund, but the administration is the responsibility of the Office.

Hungarian Academy of Arts

Since 2011, besides the Fund, a newly emerged organisation has become of central importance. The Hungarian Academy of Arts [Magyar Művészeti Akadémia (referred hereinafter to as MMA)], which existed as an NGO since 1992, but got recognised by the Fundamental Law of Hungary and upgraded to a public foundation in 2011. Since then, it has played a central role in cultural policy decision-making and funding.

'The main task of MMA is to facilitate the prevalence and protection of the values of Hungarian and universal culture, the respect of the traditions of Hungarian arts and the birth of new and significant artistic works.'

Furthermore MMA

'represents the arts in public life as well as in bodies to which law obliges it or in which its participation is requested by a governmental or other state body with national power; facilitates art education and the training of artists as well as scientific activities related to the arts; undertakes a supportive role with scholarships, awards and other methods in the Hungarian artistic sphere, putting great emphasis on the popularisation of young artists and art itself; […] contributes to the appreciation of Hungarian artists and with grants, awards and scholarships assist the publication of new artistic works as well as providing career opportunities for young artists.'

National Film Institute

The Hungarian National Film Institute (Nemzeti Filmintézet) contributes

'to the production of Hungarian films or co-productions that provide art and entertainment for the audience on all platforms, and bring significant success both domestically and on an international level.'

The Fund is financed by the Hungarian National Asset Management Inc. with ownership entity of the Ministry of Finance.

National Cooperation Fund

Another public body worth mentioning in the context of cultural funding is the National Cooperation Fund [Nemzeti Együttműködési Alap (referred hereinafter to as NEA)]. (For more information about NEA see sub-chapter 1.7 Funding Youth Policy.) Its Board of Social Environment (Közösségi környezet kollégium) provides funding to civil organisations active in the field of

  • cultural activities,
  • community culture,
  • science and research,
  • preservation of traditions, etc.
NMI Cultural Institute Non-profit Public Utility Ltd.

The most important public institution regarding community culture is the legal successor of the National Institute for Culture, the NMI Cultural Institute Non-profit Public Utility Ltd. (NMI Művelődési Intézet NKKft.) In 2017 the former budgetary body's tasks moved to a private foundation owned by Lakitelek Folk High School Foundation (Lakitelek Népfőiskola) which is chaired by Sándor Lezsák (Lezsák Sándor), MP of Fidesz.

'NMI displays the whole of Hungarian community culture in the broad sense and coordinates it via their county offices. Through model projects of value exploration and preservation, it helps and supports the survival of local communities; the folk culture and traditions, and addresses young people and involves them in these processes in various ways.' (Böröcz, 2016)

Non-public actors
Foundation for Hungarian Culture

The Foundation for Hungarian Culture (Magyar Kultúráért Alapítvány), established in April 2021, operates as a 'Public Interest Foundation Performing Public Functions'.

'Sizeable assets and competences as well as huge current and prospected financial resources and properties have been donated to the new Foundation, together with existing organizations.' (Compendium, 2022)

Several cultural bodies were integrated in the new Foundation:

'The creation of the Foundation transferred the ownership of the PIM [Petőfi Literary Museum] and other associated bodies, including the Petőfi Literary Fund (PLF) and the Petőfi Cultural Agency Ltd. (PKU), from the state to a private foundation.' (Artistic Freedom Monitor, 2022)

According to a 2021 interview, the Foundation is supposed to coordinate large scale cultural developments and is not affected by changes in political conjuncture. (Index, 2021)

NGOs

There are of course, a large number of cultural NGOs, but only a few of them have the capacity to initiate large-scale projects, especially in the field of youth. Among them, Artemisszió Foundation (Artemisszió Alapítvány) is worth mentioning.

The Foundation

'Artemisszió was founded in 1998 as a charitable foundation based in Budapest, Hungary. We believe in an open, tolerant society, where disadvantaged people are given opportunities and interculturality is valued. We work towards these goals in our home country and abroad as well. We believe that in this current globalised world, the understanding of deeply varied societies is a necessary skill. This is the way forward.'

The Foundation has three communities:

General distribution of responsibilities

'Besides the central government, the only level that really matters is that of the nearly 3 178 local (municipal) governments. This number includes 346 towns as well as 23 districts of Budapest.' (Compendium, 2021)

The local level is regulated by the 'cultural law' (Act CXL of 1997 - for more information see sub-chapter 8.1 General context.) and Act CLXXXIX of 2011 on Local Governments of Hungary (2011. évi CLXXXIX. törvény Magyarország helyi önkormányzatairól). The latter states that municipal governments must

  • support local community culture,
  • preserve local cultural heritage and
  • provide tasks related to tourism.

Act XX of 1991 on the Tasks and Scope of Authority of the Local Governments and their Organs, of the Commissioners of the Republic, and of Certain Centrally Governed Organs (1991. évi XX. törvény) regulates the ways of fulfilling the tasks. According to the law, local governments

  • provide local management and monitoring of activities related to community culture, public collections and arts, moreover
  • operate and maintain institutions of these activities.

As a voluntary activity, self-governments may support

  • cultivating traditions,
  • communities organised for cultural activities,
  • cultural organisations and art initiatives.
Tasks of municipalities

The cultural law states tasks of municipalities related to community culture. These include, among others,

  • educational activities outside the school system;
  • exploration and awareness-raising of local environment;
  • intellectual and artistic values and traditions;
  • cultivation of local cultural customs;
  • recognition of universal and national culture, as well as that of nationalities and other minorities;
  • supporting understanding and inclusion;
  • supporting amateur creative, cultural community activities;
  • building intercultural relationships and creating the conditions of cultural leisure time spending.

The obligatory tasks might be realised through operating community spaces or institutions of community culture, while voluntary activities can be fulfilled by operating or supporting libraries and museums.

'A traditional feature of the Hungarian system of cultural finances is the contribution from the central budget to the ''cultural tasks'' of the local governments. [...] In 2021, it was HUF 35.0 billion, and for 2022, HUF 35.3 billion has been earmarked. Beyond subsidising targets like specific kinds of cultural institutions, each local government receives general cultural normative assistance; the majority of municipalities nevertheless spend several times more on culture than the "per capita" central redistribution, which has a symbolic role only.' (Compendium, 2021)

As of 2021 (2021-től) the cultural contribution of the settlements is HUF 2 213 per capita with a minimum amount of HUF 2.27 million (about EUR 5 700), which does not mean a significant change from 2021.

Cross-sectorial cooperation

'There is a cooperation in the collaboration of the cultural ministry with other governmental bodies. In the current framework of horizontally distributed competences a considerable part of the cooperation occurs between the high offices in charge of a cultural policy segment and the other departments of the same ministry.' (Compendium, 2021)

National Council of Culture

The National Council of Culture (Nemzeti Kulturális Tanács) was established with an Act in 2019 (2019. évi CXXIV. törvény). Its members are the heads of the 17 cultural strategical institutions (also defined by this Act), the chairman of the Hungarian Academy of Arts and the vice-chair of the National Cultural Fund. The Council comments and coordinates development plans in the cultural sector.

The Round Table of ''Cultural Basic Provision''

'In 2014 the new Cultural State Secretary initiated the Round Table of ''Cultural Basic Provision'' (Kulturális Alapellátás Kerekasztala) so that quality culture reaches the broadest possible audiences all around the country with special attention for small villages in the countryside. The Round Table entails representatives of twenty expert organisations.' (Compendium, 2016)

The main events of the Roundtable were three conferences organised in Parliament. The minutes have been published by the State Secretariat for Culture.

According to the 'cultural law' (Act CXL of 1997), the involvement of local cultural institutions might be realised through the system of Community Culture Roundtables. The roundtables are formed for three years and can formulate opinions and recommendations in questions related to

  • local community culture,
  • community culture funding, and
  • supports the cooperation of the institutions. 

The aim of Community Culture Roundtables are

  • to highlight public demands related to community culture,
  • to coordinate community cultural activities at the municipal level and
  • to provide space for cultural advocacy.

Formation of these roundtables is not mandatory, since many settlements lack the presence of cultural NGOs.