COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Hungary/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

During the period of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (January-June 2011) the Hungarian cultural administration was actively involved in managing topical EU matters in culture, such as the preparation of a European Heritage Label, and organised a conference on the place of culture in Europe 2020, the long term strategy of the Union.

Hungary has been a member of UNESCO since 1948 and in 2011-2013, a Hungarian woman (Katalin Bogyay) was the President of the General Conference. A staff of three operates the Secretariat of the Hungarian National Commission for UNESCO within the Ministry of Human Resources. In the cultural domain, among others, eight Hungarian sites were added to the World Heritage List between 1987 and 2002. The special Act and the comprehensive state regulation of world heritage issues make Hungary unique in this respect. In 2015 the World Heritage Committee requested further details on current projects in the centre of Budapest – the report was submitted in January 2015, in which the government ensures the Committee about “the prominent attention the government is paying to individual emblematic parts of the Budapest World Heritage site. This attention is also shown through the reworking of the management plans for the World Heritage sites and the state support that has been provided and will be provided to the World Heritage site management organizations.” Before buildings are designed, detailed documentation is required about the Museum Park / Liget Project (see chapter 4.1) Budapest, too.

Hungary ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006 and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2008.

The Hungarian National Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Hungarian National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage were established in 2008. Since April 2009, the body responsible for the implementation of the Convention in Hungary is the Intangible Cultural Heritage Department of the Hungarian Open Air Museum in Szentendre; a national inventory was also set up (see chapter 4.2.2). In 2014 Hungary became a member of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage for the 2014-2018 period. Currently four items are inscribed on the UNESCO world list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The latest two were adopted in 2012: the folk art of the matyó, involving a few villages in the north-east of the country, as well as the tradition of falconry, jointly with 11 other countries. The national inventory of intangible cultural heritage contains 24 items http://szellemikulturalisorokseg.hu/.

Hungary is also party to the Memory of the World Register. In 2015, the 7th Hungarian item was added to the Memory of the World Register – three documents related to the discoveries of the 19th century physicist Roland Eötvös.

The European Folklore Institute is a regional centre for the safeguarding, revitalisation and diffusion of traditional culture and folklore in Europe: it was founded in 1996 by Hungarian government and UNESCO.

The European Youth Centre Budapest has been a residential educational establishment of the Council of Europe since 1996. Within the Council of Europe, the EYCB is part of the Directorate of Youth and Sport and is, like the European Youth Centre Strasbourg and the European Youth Foundation, an important instrument of the Council's youth policy. The EYCB enjoys diplomatic status under an agreement between the Council of Europe and the Hungarian state, the owner of its building.

In the seven years of Culture 2000 (2000-2006) there were nine project leaders, 193 co-organisers and associated organisations from Hungary. In the 2007-2013 Culture Programme there were 17 Hungarian beneficiaries, 115 co-organisers and 45 publishers among the grant winners. Since 2000 there have been 342 winning projects with Hungarian cooperation. As for Literary Translations (Strand 1.2.2), Hungary was the second strongest country by number of supported projects. As part of the first calls of the Creative Europe programme, Hungary as an applicant country won three projects within the "Networks of Towns" (Strand 2.2), and there were a significant number of successful applicants for "Town Twinning" (Strand 2.1). So far, in the newest Creative Europe (2014-2015) programmes Hungary has been a less popular partner than before: while it used to be the second most chosen country among the new member states, nowadays it is struggling for the fifth place. Upon the initiative of the Hungarian Cultural Contact Point, Hungarian winners of the Culture Programme have received practically automatic grants as matching funding from the National Cultural Fund (NKA), except for 2013 and 2014, when the NKA board in charge refused to co-fund several of the winners of EU grants.

The Budapest Observatory is an independent non-profit initiative, whose remit is to monitor the cultural policies and conditions of culture in the ex-communist countries in east and central Europe.

Hungary also takes part in the cultural co-operation programme of the Visegrad Fund, as well as of the Central European Initiative. However, neither the dimensions, nor the intensity, of these initiatives match regional co-operation in, for example, the Nordic and Baltic area. The EU strategy for the Danube Region is taking shape rather slowly: Hungary, nevertheless, plays an active role as the Collegium Hungaricum in Vienna is the co-ordinator of the Danube Cultural Cluster.

Beyond these formal and official frameworks, increasingly vibrant co-operation and networking takes place in the civic sector and at municipal level. EU programmes tend to dominate co-operation between regions.


Chapter published: 07-11-2016

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