The aim of the evaluation was to explore how and to what extent the developments supported by the Operational Programmes of the 2014-2020 period contributed to the implementation of the Hungarian National Social Inclusion Strategy (hereafter HNSIS or Strategy), to the improvement of living conditions and social positions of disadvantaged target groups, and to a better access to quality services. The aim of the evaluation was to formulate further input and recommendations for the post-2020 period.
The evaluation considered the successful implementation of the Strategy both in horizontal and sectoral areas. The horizontal topics were improvement in access to public services and the situation of Roma women, while the following seven sectoral areas were examined: (i) child welfare and child protection services, (ii) educational performance, school segregation, (iii) employment, employability, (iv) health care, (v) housing, (vi) reducing regional disparities, and (vii) cultural dialogue, awareness-raising, antidiscrimination.
We assessed altogether 104 calls of five operational programmes – HROP (Human Resources Operational Programme), TSDOP (Territorial and Settlement Development Operational Programme), CCHOP (Competitive Central Hungary Operational Programme), EDIOP (Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme), SSDPOP (Supporting Socially Disadvantaged Persons Operational Programme) – in the scope of this evaluation, 25 of them in detail. On the end date of the period under scrutiny – 21 August 2019 – only a fraction of the (altogether 5,386) projects linked to the 104 calls were completed (14%) while 40% of them had not even started.
Based on our sample of 5,386 projects, financial progress was relatively slow-paced, considering that we were coming close to the end of the programming period, although all in all this is not something that posed an obstacle to the implementation of winning projects, as projects usually received more than half of the contracted support in the form of an early payment (as of 21 August 2019). In addition to European Union funds, policy changes and the favourable economic upturn of the past few years, as well as the increasing labour shortage, all had a significant impact on the implementation of the HNSIS and on the achieved results.