2013 ranks as an eventful year in the history of the Authority. Correspondingly, there were a number of changes I would like to highlight in my introduction.
Several statutes that are relevant to the Authority's work were amended during the past year. As of 1 July 2013, Chapter X/A of Act CXL of 2004 on the general rules of official administrative procedures and services (A közigazgatási
hatósági eljárás és szolgáltatás általános szabályairól szóló 2004. évi CXL. törvény) and Government Decree 362/2004 (XII.26) on the Equal Treatment Authority (ETA) and the detailed rules of its procedures (Az Egyenlő Bánásmód Hatóságról és eljárásának részletes szabályairól szóló 362/2004. (XII.26.) Kormányrendelet) are no longer in force. The detailed rules in the latter have been reincorporated into the provisions of Act CXXV of 2003 on promoting equal treatment and equal opportunity (2003. évi CXXV. törvény az egyenlő bánásmódról és az esélyegyenlőség előmozdításáról, abbreviated as Ebktv in Hungarian), which is where they appeared originally when they were first enacted. All the rules concerning equal treatment are therefore now incorporated in the Ebktv, which has rendered the legal regulations concerning the requirement of equal treatment considerably clearer and more transparent.
Since 1 January 2012 the Authority’s legal status has been that of autonomous organ of public administration, which is independent and only subject to law. As of 1 January 2013, moreover, the Authority's financial independence has also become complete, as it has acquired the status of a central budgetary authority with its own budget subchapter, whose budget constitutes a separate title in the central budget's National Assembly chapter.
The year 2013 also proved crucial because the sponsor decided to extend by a year the duration of the EUfunded TÁMOP-5.5.5 entitled The struggle against discrimination - shaping social perceptions and reinforcing the Authority's work, which was first launched in April 2009. Another change that impacted the project was that 1 June 2013 saw the beginning of the three-year subsidy period in the life of the equal treatment consultant network, which was originally set up and operated in the framework of the TÁMOP-5.5.5 programme. During the coming three-year period the Authority will take over the coordination of the equal treatment consultant network from the EU project.
Last but not least, the Authority moved to a new headquarters in 2013, where it will be able to receive clients and conduct consultations in a renewed and improved environment and a readily accessible location.
In addition to presenting the Authority's general operations and a statistical overview of its activities, this year's report – just like the reports of the previous years – aims to review the most characteristic and instructive cases from the various areas of discrimination handled by the Authority, and to present in some detail the Authority's cases pending in court, as well as its international relations. Furthermore, it reviews in detail the events organised in the framework of the TÁMOP–5.5.5 project, as well as the communication results, publications and research programmes realised as part of the latter.
I believe that we are offering the Esteemed Reader a useful and insightful publication which – in addition to presenting the Authority's work and results – also offers guidance to both, the potential victims of discrimination and those who are obliged to comply with the principle of equal treatment.
Dr. Ágnes Honecz