Comprehensive Agreement signed between the Hungarian Government and the RCH

2017. október 06., péntek

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and leaders of the Reformed Church in Hungary signed an agreement on Wednesday outlining the basic principles of relations between the government and the RCH.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and leaders of the Reformed Church in Hungary signed an agreement on Wednesday outlining the basic principles of relations between the government and the RCH and items of cooperation between the two bodies, said Bertalan Havasi, press chief of the prime minister’s office. The document was signed by Bishop István Bogárdi Szabó and Lay President Pál Huszár on behalf of the church. It represents the renewal of an agreement signed in 1998, Said Bertalan Havasi. The signing ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, government office chief János Lázár, Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog, Justice Minister László Trócsányi, Economy Minister Mihály Varga and minister without portfolio Lajos Kósa.

“This agreement, which is based on a solid theoretical and practical foundation, will regulate the cooperation between the State and the Reformed Church in common areas. It is in the interest of society to have this work continue undisturbed, since it affects many areas of Hungarians’ everyday life. In 1998 the Reformed Church signed a similar agreement with the Hungarian Government, but since then the social and legal environment has changed dramatically: Hungary became member of the European Union and a new Fundamental Law of Hungary as well as a New Church Act have been adopted by the Hungarian Parliament, these changes have made necessary a renewed agreement between the Church and the State.

While 19 years ago the emphasis of the agreement lay on the compensation of the churches deprived from their possessions, the new agreement focuses on the inclusion of church institutions in the social, educational (including higher education), and medical realms” said Presiding Bishop of RCH István Szabó.

In this agreement the Hungarian Government guarantees that the institutions of the Church will be equally entitled to financial support for their public service and activity as government institutions at national and local levels. According to the same conditions, the government will provide equal personal allowances (covering the costs of employment) to the employees of the educational, social and medical institutions run by the church as they provide to the employees of governmental institutions at the national and local levels.

The agreement speaks of the government support for both the church’s spiritual and social services. It affirms that the Reformed Church is entitled to 1% pledges from Hungarian taxpayers as well as the state distributed money determined in proportion to the number of pledging taxpayers.

The agreement also states that the government will make a motion regarding the modification of the Law on National Higher Education and propose so that Károli Gáspár Reformed University may be recognized as an University of National Excellence as well as agreeing to initiate the examination required for the Reformed Theological Academies in Pápa and Sárospatak to be recognized as Universities of Applied Sciences by the Educational Authority of Hungary. The agreement states that the financial support annually given to the church-run universities and colleges should not be less than 8.5 million HUF.

 

Source: MTI

Translation by the Ecumenical Office

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