The State Secretariat for Social Inclusion of the Ministry of Human Resources organised an all-day conference on Wednesday under the title „Monitoring System of National Social Inclusion Strategies in the V4 Member States” which was also attended by the representatives of civil organisations, in addition to policy-makers from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.

The conference was opened by Zoltán Kovács, Minister of State for Social Inclusion at the Ministry of Human Resources. The Minister of State stressed in his speech that inclusion is an issue of strategic importance on a national level which was, after more than fifteen years, finally elevated to the status of a top priority in the European Union as well. In addition to the EU framework strategy approved during Hungary’s EU Presidency, the national strategies of the Member States create an opportunity for finding genuine solutions; however, only if the leaders of the individual countries look ahead, beyond the mere fulfilment of the minimum undertakings, and flexibly adjust to the changing environment and challenges.

The updating of the National Social Inclusion Strategy every two years is also among the goals of the Hungarian Government. This process is currently at the stage of the conclusion of the relevant professional consultations. With regard to the fact that the deficiencies in integration have a history of several decades, if not centuries, the ultimate solution must be the sum total of systematic and complex responses. These, however, can only result in progress that is also perceivable in the short term with the aid of an adequate monitoring system. This is the most important measuring device for the assessment of the utilisation of funds and resources, Zoltán Kovács said.

The Minister of State reiterated before his audience that the European Union mentioned the Hungarian monitoring system as a good example in its June 2013 country-specific report, and social inclusion will be a top priority during the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework. It is therefore essential for the countries of the Visegrád Group with similar social systems and structures to engage in an ongoing exchange of experiences.

For a period of one year as of 1 July 2013, Hungary is holding presidency of the Visegrád Group. Accordingly, the goal of the Hungarian Presidency is none other than to take a proactive stance on issues that are important for the V4 countries, to contribute to the internal growth of our region with a practical and flexible approach that is characteristic of the V4 countries and to develop relations among the residents of the four countries in a multi-faceted manner. The cause of social inclusion, including the issue of Roma integration, is a top priority among the most important goals identified by the Hungarian Government.

(State Secretariat For Social Inclusion)