As general rule, the Conference of State Secretaries for Administration is the main platform for preparing governmental decisions in Hungary and ensuring the coherence of governmental positions.
In the case of EU affairs, including external relations, governmental coordination takes place within the relevant working group of the Committee of EU Intradepartmental Cooperation (CEIC), which also meets once a week. In the MFAT, the structure responsible for coordination takes the lead in efforts to elaborate the ministry’s positions, which are shared with and commented on by the representatives of the other ministries participating in the working group.
In the case of the monthly meetings of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council and the European Council, the usual preparatory procedure is complemented by two video conferences held during the week prior to the meetings. During these virtual conferences, the concerned departments of the MFAT in Budapest and the staff of the permanent representation in Brussels discuss and finalise Hungarian positions.
In the context of the EU Global Strategy and crisis management, the government of Hungary is particularly interested in enhancing the EU’s defence capacities and avoiding any duplications in the activities of the EU and NATO. For this reason, Hungary supports the development of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the implementation of programmes within the European Defence Fund, and the development of the concept of European battlegroups. On the national level, Hungary is also making specific efforts to modernise its own military capabilities as part of the ‘Zrinyi 2026’ programme. In these areas, cooperation and coordination of positions between the MFAT and the Ministry of Defence are particularly strong.
The main direction of the governmental decision-making mechanism is bottom-up. Cooperation among ministries and other governmental agencies mainly takes place at the level of desk officers, whose common positions or debates over certain issues are submitted to the ministerial hierarchy for approval or settlement. The interactions of staffs are governed by protocols relating to intra-governmental and intra-ministerial affairs.
In cases that touch upon ‘core national interests’ (e.g. migration, rights of Hungarian minorities abroad, neighbourhood policies, Christians experiencing persecution, and sensitive human rights issues), decision-making shifts to a top-down direction. In such cases, the task of the administrations is to implement the political guidance received from the political leadership above.
In the case of the CEIC’s Working Group 24 (discussed above), the top-down direction means that the coordinator for the CSDP in the MFAT, through the established hierarchy, receives clear political instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office. In such cases, the tasks of the administrations and the duties of the coordinators in the ministries are limited to carrying out instructions and sharing information with relevant partners.
Lastly, a note on training. Members of the government’s staff do not receive any specific training on WGA-related matters. Instead, their participation in the coordination mechanism is simply a matter of ‘learning by doing’.