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Hungary’s road to digitalization

In December last year, Hungary approved its National Digital Citizenship Program that is aimed at creating a digital environment that would streamline communication between the government and its citizens.

This program hopes to create public administration spaces that are accessible online at any given time and suitable for managing any administrative needs that can be handled in person. The most important services are being developed first starting 2023, and by the end of the first strategic phase set for 2026, citizens will be able to handle almost all matters relating to public administration online. 

The National Digital Citizenship Program is part of the Hungarian government’s National Digitalization Strategy that was launched in 2020. The strategy is based on four pillars: digital infrastructure, digital skills, digital economy and digital state.

While Hungary ranks 22nd among 27 European Union (EU) member states in terms of overall digitalization based on the 2022 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), it performs well on broadband connectivity. It scores above the EU average in terms of take-up of at least 1Gbps broadband, wherein 22 percent of households subscribed to such a service in 2021 compared with 7.6 percent in the EU. It registered 83 percent on overall fixed broadband take-up (78 percent EU average), 60 percent on 5G spectrum (56 percent EU), and 79 percent on Fixed very high capacity network coverage (70 percent EU). 

Through its digitalization strategy, Hungary aims to be among the top ten EU member states in terms of digitalization by 2030.

It has set out various programs anchored on the four pillars of its digital strategy. For instance, in terms of improving the digital literacy and skills of its citizens, the government provided support for the purchase of new digital equipment mainly for institutions dealing with disadvantaged children during the pandemic. It published free digital smart textbooks for pupils in grades 5-12 on the national public education portal, and developed and published detailed methodological recommendations for teachers and professionals.

Hungary will also organize trainings for 110,000 people with no digital skills including 1,100 participants with disabilities and 1,100 participants from minorities.

They also have a "Programme your Future!" project, which aims to increase the number of people with IT qualifications relevant to the labor market and to improve the skills of ICT specialists. The project seeks to identify which ICT skills are sought after on the labor market, and examines good practices in international, domestic, higher education and corporate training. 

In terms of digitalization of businesses, the areas of action include increasing small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) use of digital technology, developing digital start-ups, targeted development of the ICT industry through support programs, and using state data assets for economic purposes. 

In the area of governance, aside from the digital development of public services, Hungary will also prioritize coordinated, user-centric digital development of central and regional administrations and professional systems on all platforms; establishing a data-driven administration by further enhancing interoperable data links between public registries and relevant back-end systems, as well as e-government services; developing smart settlements and smart areas; and increasing the information security of government electronic services. 

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