MAgyar NORvég KApcsolatok

Önkormányzati kapacitás-építés norvég-magyar együttműködéssel

Project Promoter: Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities (TÖOSZ)


HUNGARIAN NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES1067 Budapest, Teréz krt. 23., 1386 Budapest 62. Pf. 908,
Tel./Fax: +36 1/ 322-7407; 


Dr. Gábor Zongor, Project Leader and Secretary-General of TÖOSZ  ( )                                                                                  

1. Legal background

In accordance with the European Charter of Local Authorities, the Hungarian legal regulation provides for the protection of the rights of local authorities and defines the principles of the creation of interest representing associations of local authorities in the Constitution and the Act on Local Authorities. By spring 1991, the structure of the present interest protecting associations of local authorities had already been established, in the framework of which seven interests representing associations were created in Hungary.


2. The foundation of TÖOSZ


The Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities (TÖOSZ) was founded among the first Associations (its previous name was the Hungarian National Association of Council Local Authorities) in March, 1989 with the aim to create a solid basis for the interest-asserting capacity of the new local government sphere, to give assistance to the development of settlement autonomy and to participate in the creation of a social, economic and legal environment friendly to local authorities. The number of member municipalities at the time of establishment was 152.


3. The functioning of TÖOSZ


TÖOSZ is a national interest representing organ that was created for the collective representation and promotion of the rights and interests of local authorities and functions in a constitutional framework, based on statutes defined by the Assembly of Delegates. More than 1700 local authorities participate in the work of the Association and more than half of the country’s population live in TÖOSZ member municipalities.


Only local authorities (of settlements or counties) – self governments –their body of representatives and interest representing organizations may be members of TÖOSZ. The statutes neither recognize the membership of natural persons, nor the institution of supporting membership. In addition to the municipalities, interest representing organizations of local authorities and assemblies of county local authorities may be members of the Association as well. At present six interest representing organizations of local authorities (Association of Local Authorities of Bakony, Association of Peripheral Districts of Budapest, Association of Local Authorities of Dunamente and Mezőföld, Association of Local Authorities of Mátra, Association of Community Local Authorities of the Environs of Pápa, and the Association of Mining Local Authorities) and eight counties (Baranya, Békés, Csongrád, Fejér, Heves, Somogy, Szabolcs-Szatmár Bereg and Zala) are members of the Association.


TÖOSZ differs from other interest representing associations of local authorities not only because it is the oldest with the largest number of members, but also because it comprises all types of local authorities (village, large village, town, town with county rights and county). TÖOSZ aims at holding dialogues with political parties, but performs professional activity also independently of them. The local authorities being members of TÖOSZ are represented generally by mayors in the organizations of the Association (less frequently by local assembly members or notaries). By them almost all the political parties and other social organizations, which took part in local elections, are represented. As a consequence of the character and the results of the elections the majority of representatives are independent.


4. The organs of the Association


The primary decision-making body of TÖOSZ is the Assembly of Delegates. The Assembly of Delegates should be summoned at least once a year. Between two assemblies, the main executive and decision-making body of TÖOSZ is the Board. The mandate of the Board lasts from the period after the municipal elections until the election of the new board. The Supervisory Board functions in accordance with the statutes and with the aim to provide for the order of the financial economic management.


For the catering and representation of certain professional municipal tasks, the Assembly of Delegates elects councillors from the delegates. The officials of the Association: President, Co-presidents, president of the Supervisory Board, Secretary-General. The Assembly of Delegates elects at least two Co-Presidents. If the Assembly of the Capital is represented in TÖOSZ by the Lord Mayor, he / she also becomes the official of the Association as Co-President.


Chambers may be created by local authorities belonging to the same settlement type. Only one chamber may be created by the same settlement type. In 2002 March, branches were created in all counties, thus the national interest-representing Association created its county level. In order to cater for equality of opportunities and gender equality TÖOSZ created a branch for women mayors in March, 2003.


The role of TÖOSZ Secretariat is to prepare and execute the decisions of the organs of the Association, organize the execution process, collect and analyze the suggestions and opinions of the members, forward them to the relevant organs and transfer all information arriving from other organs to the members.


5. The primary tasks of TÖOSZ are in particular


•          revealing, conciliating, mediating, protecting and representing interests

•          promotion of local self-government operation

•          encouraging the enlargement and successful operation of local authority assets

•          professional and organizational support to the cooperation of local authorities

•          conciliations concerning the budgetary decisions of the Parliament

•          giving an opinion of draft acts and other state decision drafts

•          exercising the right of presentation

•          goodwill missions concerning debates between members

•          participating in the international cooperation of local authorities, promoting international relations of the members

•          organizing different services

•          operating consultative, interest revealing and coordinating forums for the members

•          promoting information flow and relations between members

•          assisting members in case of grievances and in legal affairs

•          promoting the social control of power exertion.


6. Significant results of the TÖOSZ


TÖOSZ played an influential role in the preparation of laws. The Association has given opinion, ever since its establishment, on several hundred legal regulations, it has initiated in several cases the preparation or modification of acts concerning the interests of local authorities. In the case of otherwise not avertable violations of local authority interests the Association appealed to the courts, it required even the intervention of the Constitutional Court.


TÖOSZ reached significant results primarily in the field of the protection of municipal property, in its transfer and in its increase. TÖOSZ was successful in reaching that the remuneration of local authorities from public utilities was defined by law, in the process of the creation of the legislation local authorities were privileged and the law after 3 August, 1993 contained the condition of the compensation of the energy investors.


Due to its extensive international contacts and increasing domestic political influence, TÖOSZ successfully supports the Hungarian municipalities in their effort to provide services of “European” quality through acquiring EU and international funding and the development of their own strategy. 


TÖOSZ reached that the elected leaders receive rights and appreciation in proportion of their high responsibility and hard work, and the mayors guarding their position for several political mandates may retire with waiver in the age-limit.


7. TÖOSZ publications


7.1 TÖOSZ Magazine

Since 1991 TÖOSZ has published the monthly ÖNkormányzat “Local Government” that appears in 4000 copies and is sent to all county and local governments as well as members of the Parliament and TÖOSZ partners. In ÖNkormányzat only those paid advertisements are published, the advertisers of which, wish to help the work of local authorities or intend to expand the offer of services and tools aiming at local authorities. TÖOSZ member local authorities receive a Newsletter every three month. Since December, 2005 an electronic e-Newsletter is sent to all member local authorities every two weeks. In these Newsletters, our members receive information about all important events, meetings, professional and legal changes, funding opportunities, international news and activities of our Association that may help the everyday functioning of and can be of interest for local authorities.


7.2 Website

Our Internet website ensures that all up-to-date information concerning local issues reach the local authorities in the fastest possible way. The information of the TÖOSZ website is enriched by the fact that the webpage also integrates the information and documents provided by the Local Government Information Network (LOGIN).


7.3 Information Service

Since 1 November, 1990, TÖOSZ has been operating the “Local Government Information Line”, which is a consultancy service. The service is free for TÖOSZ members. Its aim is to provide continuous and professional advice to local government officials (mayor, vice-mayor, notary, and district-notary), members of the body of representatives, employees of the Mayor’s offices, and leaders of the municipal institutions turning to TÖOSZ for help. In our “Information Line” booklet we publish the Frequently Asked Questions and their answers.


7.4 Methodological Series

The TÖOSZ Methodological Series “Jótár” provide help with the analysis of themes that are important from a professional viewpoint and in the everyday work. The publications of the series aim to contribute to the catering of tasks at a higher level through useful experiences and guidelines.


8. TÖOSZ projects and cooperation


With the support of EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanism TÖOSZ implemented a common project with Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Governments (KS) and Budapest Corvinus University with the title „Local governmental capacity-building program based on Norwegian experiences 2009-2010”.


8.1 Objectives of the project

Main aims of the project: more efficient and transparent public services provided by local governments; encouraging local-governmental developments; strengthening local democracy; implementation of equal chances for women and men at the local governments in the area of employment. Elaboration of the capacity building systems of the local governments, which facilitate the improvement of management approach and professional competence. Sustainable mayor training elaborated for the long run: operation of the Mayors’ Academy.


8.2 Activities

 Individual activities could be grouped into three main components: 1) Establishment of the Mayors’ Academy 2) Local-governmental bench-learning program 3) Training for the members of the body of representatives.


8.3 Outputs, results

We established the Mayors’ Academy that on the long run will be operated by TÖOSZ and the Corvinus University on the basis of Norwegian methodology, under close professional co-operation; the pilot class will educate 60 mayors. On the basis of Norwegian experiences we will establish and TÖOSZ will operate the local-governmental bench-learning methodology in the interest of improving public services, in the frame of a pilot in 4 areas (training, social affairs, health care, environment protection – energy) with the involvement of 64 local-governmental representatives. In Hungary we elaborate and operate on a regular basis the trainings for the members of the bodies of representatives (after the elections 2-day local, process-oriented training, and 1 day per year afterwards) with the adoption of the Norwegian system; the method will be tested at 20 local governments that means the involvement of approx. 200 representatives in the training.


8.4 Budget

The full budget of the project amounts to EUR 500000


8.5 Inland Cooperation

For the efficient cooperation of the Ministry of Information Technology and Communication (IHM) and local authorities, TÖOSZ became one of the coordinators of e-government strategy through the signature of a cooperation agreement with the Ministry. In the framework of this cooperation TÖOSZ has conducted an extensive IT program. 


The aim of the cooperation between the National Office of Territorial Development (OTH) and TÖOSZ is to promote municipal information on and participation in the performing of tasks connected to territorial development and organization, tourism, housing and building.  Based on this agreement, the ministry supports the creation and development of a municipal and regional database concentrating on economic development and capital-attracting features. The aim of the planned system is to present the settlements and regions most suitable for investments and reception of capital and to harmonize the demand with the offer. The database and data processing system will help the promotion and the analysis of economic development and investment processes on the level of local, regional and national level.


TÖOSZ is also cooperating with the National Development Office (NFH, beforehand Office of the National Development Plan and EU funding of Office of the Prime Minister). The aim of this cooperation is to maximize the use of EU funding opportunities and the application of elements of national and regional programs in the creation of the National Development Plan.


The cooperation between the Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) and TÖOSZ makes it possible for local authorities to receive continuous and relevant information on the national and EU funding system, the conditions of state promoted subsidies and further financial and development possibilities.


In the framework of a project funded by the Human Resources Operative Program (ROP), this year TÖOSZ is cooperating in the content and structural development of the higher education in the field of public administration, in the reform of higher education of public administration experts, and is contributing to the creation of a new practice-oriented basic and post-graduate education of people with university degree that conforms the renewing public administration.


9. International relations


Since its creation TÖOSZ is an active partner in multilateral and bilateral European international local government co-operation.


9.1 TÖOSZ obtained an observer status in the Standing Conference of the European Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRAE) in December 1989, and then its representatives began to work as members of the congressional delegation of the Hungarian local governments.


9.2 The Association is in contact with the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) since March 1990. In 1999, it became a full member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and the IULA. In the course of the creation of the new World Organization also containing the IULA, the United Local Governments and Cities (ULGC), the president of the TÖOSZ, Mr. László Dióssy became the Hungarian representative in the World Council of the new organization.


9.3 The Association has reached important results with the Committee of the Regions, out of 12 representatives of the Hungarian delegation to the CoR, 2 persons were delegated by TÖOSZ.


9.4 As part of the already mentioned multilateral international local government co-operations and bilateral relations with the Italian, Austrian, German, French, Finnish, Slovak, Swiss, Polish, Greek, British, Serbian, Ukrainian, Latvian etc national local government associations, TÖOSZ also contributed to the preparation of its local government members to European Accession.


9.5 Further current international projects in our Association are as follows. TÖOSZ has been a partner in CEEC-LOGON ever since the establishment of the program and has supported the EU integration process of Hungarian municipalities through the tools provided by LOGON. TÖOSZ is the Hungarian anchor of the Local Government Information Network (LOGIN); it has a representative in the Elected Women Section of the CEMR and thus actively participates in the programs of this section. TÖOSZ deals with twinning relations and promotes the idea of creation of twinning links between its members; it serves as a representative of Hungarian local authorities in the twinning section of the CEMR. The Association also acts as partner in the International Communal Network (ICNW) led by the Association of Austrian Municipalities and function within the Interreg III/C project.  TÖOSZ is a partner in an Interreg III/B supported project the C2ENET network led by Vsetin town.





10. Cooperation with other Hungarian Associations


The Hungarian Associations are as follows (in order of creation): the Association of Hungarian Villages (MF/1989), the Association of Hungarian Local Authorities (MÖSZ/1990), the National Association of Hungarian Local Authorities of Small Towns (KÖOÉSZ/1990), Association of Local Authorities of Small Settlements (KÖSZ/1990), The Association of Towns with County Rank (MJVSZ/1990), National Association of County Local Authorities (MÖOSZ/1991).


Out of the seven Associations, five have been organized based on the idea of local government type. Out of them the membership of the MJVSZ and the MÖOSZ is complete. MÖSZ similarly to TÖOSZ is organized on the idea of compromising all settlement types. Based on the prerequisite of the Act on Local Authorities, the central government is obliged to consult the seven Associations on all issues effecting local authorities. The seven Associations work together in order to issue common statements on the most important issues and aim at signing joint cooperation agreements in certain fields.


11. Basic Philosophy


The basic philosophy of TÖOSZ decisively differs from those of the other interest associations that it gives priority to the general and common interest representation of local authorities, and considers only on the basis of these the enforcement of the interest of individual local authorities or types of local authorities (village, town, city). It also takes, however, into account that the interests of certain types of local authorities may differ in a given issue, so the chambers of villages, towns and counties may operate as independent legal entities within the uniform organization of the Association. The presidency, the county branches, the councillors responsible for different professional fields, the branch for women mayors and the public administration professional section jointly help the interest-representing work of TÖOSZ.


TÖOSZ is an independent, self-supporting organization. All local authorities that intend to cooperate in a democratic way, as detailed in the Statutes of TÖOSZ, for the realization of the above mentioned objectives, may become members of TÖOSZ on the condition that they accept the following values: voluntarism, legal equality of members, solidarity, promotion of consensus, joint responsibilities, orientation towards the future, promotion of professionalism, pragmatism in a good way, independence from politics in the course of TÖOSZ activities.


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MAgyar - NORvég KApcsolatok

„Önkormányzati kapacitásépítés norvég-magyar együttműködéssel” projekt

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