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Focus Hungary: In Conversation AFS Hungary

Youth organisations are advocating for the establishment of a national youth council in Hungary to represent youth and promote youth issues at national level. While being supportive of the idea, the government has not promised any funding as yet. Several forms have been proposed, from a traditional (like those in many EU countries), to a cross-border youth council for all Hungarians, enveloping those in Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine, among others. The two sides of the spectrum who supported the different proposals are negotiating in order to find common ground in their ideas and find the best solution for youth organisations.

The new Hungarian constitution has aroused the concern of the EU and human rights NGOs. They view the constitution as inhibiting the independence of the media, judiciary and central bank. The EU has launched legal action against Hungary for violating EU laws with the new legislation and is planning to withhold some €495 million of EU cohesion funding over Hungary’s budget deficit. In this time of crisis, youth organisations are trying not to lose their optimism and are focused on maintaining their work as much as possible. While a National Youth Strategy was established in 2009 and a Programme for the Future of the New Generation was recently launched (with youth organisations and representatives participating in its formulation), youth organisations are not those creating youth policy and youth policy and strategy is not usually followed up. This needs to change.

The political developments in Hungary are impacting on youth organisations and their work. Youth organisations are concerned they will lose government funding in the near future. They also express unease respecting the future absence of the Youth in Action programme from the “Erasmus for All” proposal. The loss of such a programme would devastate many Hungarian youth organisations. As Hungary is sorely lacking a national youth organisation however, there is no body to lobby to protect the Youth in Action programme in the country. Many youth organisations aspire to see Hungarian youth united in one Council and ultimately, would like to see Hungarian youth represented in the European Youth Forum.

Useful links:

“Youth Policy in Hungary”, Council of Europe, October 2008

AFS Hungary