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Hungary’s National Strategy for Social Inclusion has received an extremely positive evaluation, and the document has been recognised as faithfully reflecting the aims expressed during Hungary’s 2011 EU presidency, and the results achieved since then. This is apparent from the statement released by the European Commission evaluating national strategies for Roma integration. The Ministry for Human Resources welcomes the Commission’s statement, and sees it as an important step towards realisation of the goals of the European strategy. The Ministry welcomes the fact that when preparing the statement, the Commission took account of Hungary’s recommendation that evaluation should occur on a country-by-country basis. 

The Commission’s analysis is further proof of the fact that Hungary is at the forefront of integration, and that many of the accusations levelled at the country at home and across Europe are examples of double standards which have simply served to generate negative publicity. Hungary’s contribution to the EU Framework Strategy was without doubt one of the Hungarian presidency’s greatest successes, and its acceptance was one of that presidency’s main priorities. The Commission’s statement recognises that poverty is not an exclusively Roma issue, but is a problem for society as a whole. While the Commission points to integrated education and school segregation as areas apparently receiving less attention in the Strategy, we must emphasise that in public consultations and through the implementation of composite programmes we are focusing on those areas which receive less attention in the text.

On the basis of the resolutions in the Framework Strategy, every Member State prepared its own national strategy; compared to previous initiatives these provide far more assistance to the disadvantaged, and pay special attention to the integration of Roma. Clearly the Strategy and the action plan will not solve at a stroke the crisis situation facing Roma and non-Roma Hungarians in smaller settlements across the country. Nevertheless we see it as an achievement that over the last two years we have been able to call the European Union’s attention to this grave problem, and to Hungary’s experiences related to it.

Hungary continues to be ready to play an active role in the successful implementation of European measures for Roma integration, and in specialist assistance offered to the countries of the Western Balkans. Alongside this, we are continuing implementation of our national strategy, according to the action plan contained in the document.


The Commission’s statement declares the following: improvement in the situation of marginalised sectors of society is primarily the responsibility and remit of Member States; therefore measures to support the Roma are primarily the task of Member States. In its country-by-country evaluation, which will serve as a basis for further dialogue between the Commission and Member States, there are four highlighted areas (education, employment, healthcare and housing) and also structural requirements, such as cooperation between civil society and local authorities, monitoring systems and financing.

The statement gives clear direction on the basis of the EU framework system: Member States must employ targeted approaches which are consistent with shared basic principles on the social inclusion of Roma. At the same time, they must ensure the incorporation of the principles of the National Roma Integration Strategy into the National Reform Programme of the Europe 2020 Strategy. In this respect Hungary, with its National Strategy for Social Inclusion, is one of the leading Member States.

According to the Commission’s statement, the distribution of 26.5 billion Euros in EU funds to Member States for social integration has been only moderately successful, with states directing too few resources to disadvantaged Roma communities. Although this criticism was not specifically aimed at Hungary, our country seeks to ensure effective use of funds in the future through the appointment of a ministerial commissioner overseeing distribution of EU funds, working within the Ministry of Human Resources. The Commission praises the measures that Hungary has undertaken in the area of care for pre-school children (mandatory nursery provision from the age of three), and the so-called ‘second chance’ schools.

In the area of employment, the statement recognises Hungary’s openness towards the social economy, praising the open and legal labour market and measures taken to create jobs in the agricultural sector, and comments positively on public work schemes for the most disadvantaged. In the section on healthcare, interventions in disadvantaged regions which also target non-Roma Hungarians are highlighted. The statement draws attention to the importance of healthcare programmes for Roma women and children, and the involvement of civil society in their implementation. In the area of housing, the evaluation mentions as an especially positive element the composite programme for improving the situation of those in segregated localities. In addition to all this is highlights the significance of social housing.

The statement also highlights the public consultation process and acknowledges the success of co-operation with civil societies. The evaluation mentions the partially developed monitoring and evaluation system as a weakness of Hungary’s strategy. This year specialist and public consultation will lead to a Government action plan in this area.

In addition to the above the Commission highlights two programmes initiated by Hungary which serve as a model to other Member States: The statement mentions that Hungary is seeking to provide training to Roma women ‘with the help of the European Social Fund and ease the acquisition of practical experience in social, child welfare and child protection services, and also as family support social workers, community developers, employment facilitators and healthcare mediators.’

The Commission continues thus: ‘In Hungary, to promote the social inclusion of those living in segregated environments, integrated programmes aimed at improving social, community, educational, healthcare, employment and housing conditions will be implemented using both ESF and ERDF resources. Alongside the establishment of community centres to provide hygienic and other services for the inhabitants, their housing needs will be targeted as well, including social housing.’

22 May 2012, Budapest
Ministry of Social Resources
State Secretariat for Social Inclusion
Press Office

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