Structural and personal changes have characterised the years since Fidesz gained 2/3 of parliamentary seats in spring 2010, ushering in the regime called the System of National Cooperation (Nemzeti Együttműködés Rendszere). The parliamentary elections in spring 2014 confirmed the absolute majority of Fidesz. Zoltán Balog remained Minister of Human Resources and Péter Hoppál became State Secretary in charge of culture. His predecessor László L. Simon administers matters of cultural heritage and major cultural investments as State Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.
MMA, the Hungarian Academy of Arts, collects increasing resources and competences. Several buildings were transferred from state property into the possession of MMA, including the Műcsarnok, a representative Kunsthalle built in 1896. In addition, in 2014 the government announced the acquisition of a stately building on the elegant Andrássy út to house the offices of MMA. 244 regular and 49 “corresponding” members receive monthly allowances, from January 2016 HUF 260 000 and 190 000 respectively (about EUR 840 and EUR 610, which does not affect other earnings or pensions – the average Hungarian income is about EUR 790). New members are enrolled by co-opting. With a recommendation letter from a Hungarian or foreigner artist or art expert, anybody, including non-academic candidates, may apply for membership. In addition, MMA selects the Artists of the Nation from individuals over 65 who hold the Kossuth Prize, the highest official decoration. Artists of the Nation – 70 persons at any time – receive a monthly allowance that equals 23 times the official minimum retirement pension, in 2016 HUF 655 500 (about EUR 2 200).
“In order to strengthen national cohesion” and consider the history of the past 150 years to (re)build national historic identity, a new public research institute (Veritas Research Institute – http://www.veritasintezet.hu/en/) was set up in 2013 by the government – a challenge to the existing historiographic workshops at universities and the Academy of Science.
Although public financial cultural investments continue to be dominated by payments from the European Structural and Investment Funds, the issue of culture’s role in the 2014-2020 planning period (in the Széchenyi 2020 programme, as the plan is called in Hungary) is almost absent from public discourse. The Partnership Agreement signed with the European Commission in August 2014 nevertheless foresees further investment into cultural heritage in the context of regional development, and socio-cultural services are referred to in connection to human resources development. Most of these are supposed to be financed through EFOP, the human resources development operational programme which represents over 11% of all EU financial support for Hungary in 2014-2020, in a 2:1 share from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) respectively.
Currently, the main cultural priority of the government is the regeneration of two areas in Budapest: the Castle District in Buda and the City Park. The royal castle complex has been housing cultural institutions since the 1960s, some of which—most specifically the National Gallery—will be removed to allow space for state representation and administration. A new building is to be erected in the middle of the City Park (Városliget, or Liget in short), alongside with some other new museums and an overdue overhaul of the Museum of Fine Arts. For more about these plans go to chapter 1.3.1.
Manda (see chapter 2.4) has created the concept of the National Filmhistory Park to be built in Ózd, thus reconstructing the abandoned industry zone of the town, hoping to attract tourists and provide locals with employment possibilities. The project is of high priority and its budget is nearly 1 billion HUF. The interactive exhibition will cover Hungarian and Eastern-European film history.