Hungary

   

Executive Capacity

#34
Key Findings
Despite the state’s sweeping consolidation of power, Hungary scores relatively poorly overall (rank 34) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this issue has declined by 0.2 points relative to 2014.

The size of the Prime Minister’s Office resources have steadily grown, but a focus on political loyalty has actually resulted in a decline in expertise. Line ministries largely follow orders from above, and are subject to detailed PMO oversight. Informal decision-making dominates, with Orbán guiding virtually all important decisions.

RIAs are not systematically applied, and quality is poor. Mass demonstrations have prompted some government meetings with selected stakeholders, but consultation is largely focused on “national consultations” in the form of manipulated citizen questionnaires. Hasty policymaking and loyalty-based hiring practices hamper the achievement of goals.

Institutional reform has centralized power, facilitating patronage and ideologically driven decisions. High-level government reorganizations seem aimed at creating elite rivalries. Agencies are closely monitored. The government’s conflicts with the EU have deepened over time, particularly with respect to the issue of refugees.

Strategic Capacity

#41

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
3
The Orbán governments have subordinated all political actions to the goal of consolidating their power and have reacted to problems and challenges on a day-to-day basis, without reference to an over-reaching plan. The economic and fiscal priorities have frequently shifted, and not much effort has been invested in building institutional capacities for strategic planning. After the 2014 local elections, Orbán promised to elaborate a long-term development strategy for the country but has failed to do so thus far. In late 2016, the government announced the adoption of the third Széll Kálman Plan, a new plan for economic development in the tradition of two strategic documents adopted in 2011 and 2012. Instead of drawing up such a plan, however, the Orbán government became increasingly preoccupied with the campaign for the parliamentary elections in April 2018 and switched to a “campaign government” modus in fall 2017. As it stands, the government has no clear-cut strategy addressing the implications of digital society and the digitalization of the economy. Nor is there an understanding where and how Hungary should position itself in the reform debate of the European Union.

How influential are non-governmental academic experts for government decisionmaking?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental academic experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Scholarly Advice
2
The Orbán governments have shown no interest in seeking independent advice and have alienated many leading experts who initially sympathized with them politically. The third Orbán government largely relies on two lavishly sponsored major policy institutes, Századvég and Nézőpont. Whereas Századvég has traditionally focused on the mid-term issues, Nézőpont has supported the government in everyday decision-making. In the period under review, there have been some scandals surrounding the financing of Századvég and the quality of its products. There is a relatively new, pseudo-professional Institute, Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ), which tries to deliver legal arguments against the criticism of Orbán government by the EU institutions and/or the Hungarian professional NGOs as watchdog organizations.

Interministerial Coordination

#9

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills substantively?

10
 9

The GO / PMO has comprehensive sectoral policy expertise and provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s strategic and budgetary priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO has sectoral policy expertise and evaluates important draft bills.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise, but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
7
The Orbán governments have steadily expanded both the competencies and the resources of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The number of state secretaries and undersecretaries in the PMO has been further increased, and now stands at about 30. More than 1,500 persons are employed in the PMO and in its surrounding expert groups. The PMO is supported by five background institutes with about 200 employees. Three of them, the Veritas Institute (an institute of contemporary history), the Institute for Linguistic Strategy (for language guidelines for Fidesz media) and the Institute for National Strategy (Hungarians in neighboring countries) deal with “strategic” issues. The Institute of Systemic Change and Archives and the Institute of National Heritage focus on documentation (31-29 people respectively). However, the quantitative expansion of the PMO has come with a decline in expertise, as political loyalty has been the main principle of recruiting. In addition to the PMO, there is the prime minister’s cabinet office. Under its head Antal Rogán, it has developed into a ministry with state secretaries and undersecretaries responsible for government communication.

Can the government office / prime minister’s office return items envisaged for the cabinet meeting on the basis of policy considerations?

10
 9

The GO/PMO can return all/most items on policy grounds.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO can return some items on policy grounds.
 5
 4
 3


The GO/PMO can return items on technical, formal grounds only.
 2
 1

The GO/PMO has no authority to return items.
GO Gatekeeping
10
Under the Orbán governments, all important personal, political and policy decisions have been made by the prime minister and the small groups of his confidents. The gatekeeping role has long been played by the Minister of the PMO János Lázár and the head of the personal political cabinet of Orbán Antal Rogán. Rogán is a close ally of Árpád Habony, the closest adviser to Orbán, who has no official position and no public presence. As Orbán has tried to play a bigger role in the EU in the period under review, Lázár und Rogán have been joined lately by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination in the GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
9
Under the Orbán governments, line ministries have mostly acted as executive agencies which are following orders from above and whose activities have been subject to detailed oversight by the PMO. In practice, however, ministers have been unable to oversee their portfolios, especially in the huge Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) with its ten state secretaries and 20 deputies. The regular involvement of the PMO has led to delays, disorientation and frequent policy failures.

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The large majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
7
Given the dominant role of the PMO and the small number of ministries, cabinet committees have for long played a much less significant role under the second and third Orbán governments than under previous governments. In 2016, however, two important cabinet committees were created, the strategic committee led by János Lázár and the economic committee led by Mihály Varga. These committees have a clear profile, but an uncertain mandate, since it has not been decided whether they are advisory-preparatory or decision-making bodies. However, their function is certainly to relieve Orbán from the everyday burden of management and to create a new rivalry in the government between the two important personalities. In the period under review, György Matolcsy, the Governor of the National Bank has been the main player in economic policy, so Varga has been pushed to the second row. As part of its stronger emphasis on family policy, the government announced in the fall of 2017 the creation of a cabinet committee on family affairs.

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
5
Given the small number of ministries in Hungary, inter-ministerial coordination has, to some extent, been replaced with intra-ministerial coordination, especially within the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI), the biggest super-ministry, and also in the Ministry of National Economy (NGM). In addition to policy coordination by the PMO, senior ministry officials meet in order to prepare cabinet meetings. There is also a special Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee for European Affairs (EKTB), a committee consisting of senior ministry officials tasked with coordinating EU-related issues that is also under the auspices of the PMO.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
10
The strong formal role of Prime Minister Orbán and his PMO is complemented by informal coordination mechanisms. As the power concentration around Orbán has increased, informal decision-making plays an increasingly dominant role, and the formal mechanisms only serve to legalize and implement these improvised and hastily made decisions. Prime Minister Orbán travels with his personal staff and rules the country by phone calls as a “remote control” that terrifies medium-level politicians and leads to big policy failures in implementations. If the prime minister is not available or not ready or able to decide, issues remain in the air without any decision being made. Orbán regularly brings together officials from his larger circle in order to give instructions. Many decisions originate from these meetings, which subsequently ripple informally through the system before any formal decision is made. These informal coordination mechanisms make rapid decision-making possible. Given the pivotal role of the prime minister, this system encourages anticipative obedience, but also creates a bottleneck in the implementation of decisions and precludes any genuinely efficient feedback.

Evidence-based Instruments

#38

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
4
The Orbán government amended the Act on Lawmaking (Act of CXXX of 2010) that included provisions on RIA in sections 17§ and 21§. It established the Government Feasibility Center and assigned it to the Ministry of Justice. In practice, RIA has suffered from sluggish implementation and has been applied almost exclusively in the environmental context and/or in cases where international obligations have demanded it.

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
2
The quality of the RIA process in Hungary has always been poor, since the stakeholder participation is usually lacking. While rhetorically emphasized in many official documents, the very idea of consultation has been alien to the Orbán governments. RIA performance has rarely or only partially made available to political actors on the special website for RIA (hatasvizsgalat.kormany.hu).

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
2
The Hungarian parliament passed a National Sustainability Strategy in March 2013 and afterwards the environmental committee was transformed into the Committee of Sustainable Development (consisting of parliamentarians) and supported by the National Sustainability Council (consisting of experts across all policy fields). This strategy is a long document that surveys relevant international documents and provides some Hungarian applications. However, the Sustainability Strategy and RIA processes have not yet been coordinated because sustainability checks are not an integral part of RIA.

Societal Consultation

#41

To what extent does the government consult with societal actors to support its policy?

10
 9

The government successfully motivates societal actors to support its policy.
 8
 7
 6


The government facilitates the acceptance of its policy among societal actors.
 5
 4
 3


The government consults with societal actors.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Negotiating Public Support
2
The Orbán governments have largely refrained from consulting with independent societal actors. Orbán has argued that the government’s strong parliamentary majority has vested it with sufficient legitimacy to carry out profound changes without consulting stakeholders. The second Orbán government abolished the former tripartite National Interest Reconciliation Council (OÉT) and replaced it in October 2011 with a new National Economic and Social Council (NGTT), having very limited competencies. Unlike its predecessor, this body meets very rarely and cannot make any decisions, thus primarily serving the goal of showing the government’s commitment to some sort of social dialog. In response to the continuing mass demonstrations in the health and education sectors, the government has convened some meetings with selected stakeholders, but has firmly avoided to grant any competence to independent groups of experts or civil organizations. Instead, the government’s main means of “listening” to society and citizens has been the so called national consultations, fake referendums held twice a year since 2010. Within this framework, the government sends out letters with misleading and manipulated “partisan” questions and the citizens are supposed to send back these questionnaires (free of charge) with their answers. Usually about 1 out of 8 million citizens do so, almost all of them supporting the views of the government. In March 2017 there was a national consultation on the EU (“Stop Brussels”) that received only 920.000 answers. On 1 October 2017 the government launched a new national consultation about the so called “Soros Plan,” which allegedly means supporting the invasion of Europe by Muslim migrants. Here, more than two million questionnaires were sent back. While the government justifies the national consultations as evidence that it is listening to the people, their real functions are the mobilization of Fidesz voters on a permanent basis and the preparation for the election campaign.

Policy Communication

#12

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

The government effectively coordinates the communication of ministries; ministries closely align their communication with government strategy. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 8
 7
 6


The government coordinates the communication of ministries. Contradictory statements are rare, but do occur. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries are responsible for informing the public within their own particular areas of competence; their statements occasionally contradict each other. Messages are sometimes not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
Coherent Communication
7
The government tries to have coherent communication through drastic disciplinary measures at all levels. Most Fidesz politicians avoid journalists, they do not give interviews and after their public performances they just read out texts written by the Cabinet Office of the prime minister headed by Antal Rogán. Coherent communication as the exercise of soft power appears initially in controlling agenda setting by launching new topics to divert the public attention from emerging problems in the media that can harm Fidesz politics. However, coherent communication sometimes fails at the top level because of the double-headed central communication scheme. On one side, the organization and supervision of the government and Fidesz party communication is in the hands of the ministry headed by Rogán. On the other side, PMO head Lázár has an important government press conference every Thursday, in which he often criticizes indirectly the Rogán-Habony group. Beyond this, confidential information has been increasingly leaked to the press from closer Fidesz circles, addressing the megalomania and luxury consumption habits of the new Fidesz aristocracy around Rogán and Habony.

Implementation

#29

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Efficiency
5
The Orbán governments have been quite successful in consolidating political power, centralizing policymaking and weakening the remaining checks and balances. At the same time, they have largely failed to meet broader goals such as fostering sustainable economic growth or increasing employment in the private sector. The low degree of government efficiency has been illustrated by frequent policy changes in all policy fields and by the lack of coordination of policy fields, caused also by selection of personnel based on party loyalty, not on merit. A central problem has been the implementation of new bills and regulations. Overhasty policymaking has led to incoherent and contradictory legal texts, causing extreme difficulties for local and county administrations. The government’s low level of efficiency has been acknowledged by PMO minister Lázár himself several times.

To what extent does the organization of government provide incentives to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
9
Under the third Orbán government, Ministerial compliance has diminished. The replacements for the purged Simicska followers have been loyal, but incompetent, so that their actions have often been chaotic. The increasing disorder has led to soft resistance by János Lázár, the head of the PMO, who has sometimes criticized the official line indirectly but publicly. The creation of two new cabinet committees – an economic cabinet with Mihály Varga and a strategic cabinet with János Lázár – in the summer of 2016 aimed at demonstrating the power of the prime minister, but also at pushing for more policy compliance of ministers and senior officials. Another cabinet committee, on family policy, has been announced.

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
10
The Prime Minister’s Office has successfully monitored line ministries in all stages of the policy process, enforcing obedience to the political will of the central leadership. As all core executive figures have been Fidesz party stalwarts, control has functioned largely through party discipline. Those who have failed to keep discipline, even in comparatively insignificant matters, have lost their positions. The existing civil-service legislation has made it easy to dismiss public employees without justification.

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies and executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies, Bureaucracies
10
The third Orbán government has closely controlled the appointment and activities of the heads and core executives of all state agencies at the national level. Simicska followers, some of which were among the most professional pro-government experts, have been removed from state agencies. The frequent changes in administrative positions have contributed to high discipline. The centralization of state administration in county-level government offices has extended the government’s control over all subnational agencies, since they have been concentrated in these county offices. As in the case of line ministries, the government has adopted a hands-on approach and has closely monitored the agencies’ implementation activities.

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
2
The second Orbán government merged small local authorities and shifted a portion of subnational self-governments’ former competencies to the central government administration. However, the transfer of competencies from the subnational to the national level has gone hand in hand with an even stronger reduction in subnational governments’ revenue sources. As a result, the latter have fewer resources for the remaining tasks than before. Moreover, central government grants have been discretionary and unpredictable. Municipalities and counties with an influential Fidesz leader have been in a better position to get additional funding; the other have been confronted with the newly introduced “solidarity tax” imposed upon rich municipalities. A good case in point of the problems associated with the discretionary budgeting of the central government is the delayed reconstruction of the M3 metro line in Budapest, the most important transport facility in Budapest, carrying more than 500,000 people every day. The project has suffered from funding conflicts between the government and the city, which is perceived by most Fidesz leaders as a left-liberal stronghold, even though it has a Fidesz mayor.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
3
The second government initiated a far-reaching reform of local government. The government has established new tiers of state administration at the county and district level that were given some of the functions previously exercised by local and other subnational self-governments. This stripping of competencies has been especially severe in the case of the city of Budapest, a traditional liberal stronghold which has since lost its special role in national politics. On the one hand, the reform lifted a significant burden from smaller units, as it professionalized services in deconcentrated state bodies. On the other hand, the general shift of competences did not at all improve self-governments’ performance flexibility in those areas remaining under their control. As a result, both the formal powers of subnational self-governments and their capacities to make full use of these powers have declined. Local Fidesz strongholds like Debrecen seem to have enjoyed special treatment in the process of allocating EU funds.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
4
In Hungary, the quality of subnational public services has suffered as a result of the reorganization of subnational governments. The state administration’s new subnational tiers have only gradually gained experience in providing services. The provision of those public services that have been left with subnational self-governments has in turn suffered from self-governments’ lack of financial resources and administrative capacities. as well as from conflicting legal norms and the complexity of some regulations. The central government has exercised strong control but has not focused on quality issues. As a result, national standards have increasingly been undermined, especially in the fields of health care, education and social services.

Citations:
Albert, F. (2016): Restructuring of the Hungarian social protection system: Evaluation of the 2015 decision to delivering benefits locally. European Social Policy Network, Flash Report No. 2016/26.

Adaptability

#41

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures no matter how useful adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
4
The Orbán governments have paid little attention to the adaptation of domestic government structures to international and supranational developments. In public, Orbán has stressed Hungarian independence, and has argued that his government is waging a freedom fight for national sovereignty against the European Union. Major institutional reforms have even reduced the fit of domestic government structures with international and supranational developments. The radical reduction in the number of ministries, for instance, has created huge problems with regard to EU affairs, as the ministries’ organization no longer matches that of other EU countries or the structure of the European Union’s Council of Ministers. There is often a mismatch in rank, as Hungarian ministers have to cover more Councils than their counterparts in other countries with more minister forming the government. Nonetheless, the administration ensures more or less that the acquis communautaire is implemented. The absorption rates in EU structural funds application are relatively good. Due to the high systemic corruption in the EU transfers by the Fidesz oligarchs, however, some transfers were suspended in the last years.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively in international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
3
Since the beginning of the EU refugee crisis, Prime Minister Orbán has looked for an international role for himself and has increasingly been elevated to one of Europe’s “strong men” in the Fidesz press. He has intensified cooperation within the Visegrád group, especially on migration policy and has boasted about his good relationship with Putin. However, all these activities have further undermined his standing with other European leaders. The conflict of the Orbán government with the EU has further deepened in the refugee crisis and by the “Stop Brussels campaign.” As a result, the strongest reaction has come from the European Peoples Party, from the Fidesz party family that led to the historical event when the European Parliament resolution called to invoke Art. 7, passed by a a large majority on 17 May 2017, with many MEPs from the EPP voting in favor. On top of that, the European Court of Justice on 6 September 2017 refused the Hungarian – jointly with Slovakia and supported by Poland – claim against the allocation of refugees among the member states. But Orbán has not stopped attacking Brussels, he has declared that the Commission has been working according to the “Soros Plan.”

Organizational Reform

#27

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
9
In Hungary, there is no regular formal monitoring of the institutional arrangements of governing in place. However, there is strong and rather comprehensive oversight of the working of the state apparatus from the top down, measured against the political will of the leadership, and the government has been quick to change any institutional arrangements it has deemed to be politically dangerous. The Orbán governments underperform with regard to coherent policy planning but react quickly to failures in individual political cases or in major policymaking mistakes. Public policy has often been very volatile, changing according to the government’s current needs. There is a relatively high number (11) of plenipotentiaries without the line-ministerial structures for specific issues. Overseeing them and integrating them into policymaking requires additional emphasis and may turn out to be counter-productive in the long run.

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
2
From time to time, Orbán has reorganized the workings of his government with an open effort to get rid of managing smaller issues and promoting rivalry in the top elite to weaken them, but without improving the strategic capacity of government. In the period under review, the government created a new Competitiveness Council and announced the creation of a cabinet committee on family affairs. In October 2017, two new ministers were appointed for campaign reasons. János Süli, a former Fidesz mayor of Paks and an expert in nuclear physics became the minister in charge of defending the controversial new Paks-2 nuclear power plant; Lajos Kósa, the minister for the modern cities program, was vested with the power to allocate substantial public funds for city development. The appointment of the two ministers further increased the number of government members. While Orbán back in 2010 emphasized the need for small government, the third Orbán government in autum 2017 consisted of 178 ministers, state secretaries and deputy state secretaries, twice the number of the Bajnai government in 2010. The appointment of Süli and Kósa went hand in hand with a weakening of János Lázár, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, and is to further weaken coordination within government.
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