The Prime Ministry

Minister in Charge of the Prime Ministry Gergely Gulyás.

The Prime Ministry (Miniszterelnökség) is the office of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The Prime Ministry is currently located on Kossuth Square just south of the Hungarian Parliament Building. 

Gergely Gulyás has served as minister in charge of the Prime Ministry since May 2018. János Lázár previously served as minister in charge of the Prime Ministry from June 2014 until May 2018.  

Under Prime Minister Orbán, the Prime Ministry has become significantly bigger and more powerful, assuming many of the traditional functions and duties of government ministries.

Growing Staff and Budget

The staff of the Prime Ministry grew steadily during the first two and a half years following Prime Minister Orbán’s return to power in 2010, rising from 50 in June of the latter year to 164 in May 2012 under the leadership of Mihály Varga and subsequently to 275 under the leadership of János Lázár (source A, B and C in Hungarian).

The Prime Ministry was thus forced to rent offices near the Hungarian Parliament Building in order to accommodate this rapid increase in personnel (source in Hungarian). Minister in Charge of the Prime Ministry Lázár announced in May 2013 that he would cut the office’s staff by 20 percent to around 220 (source in Hungarian).

The proposed 2015 government budget called for 227 billion forints in funding for the Prime Ministry and organizations operating under its authority, up nearly seven-fold from 34 billion in 2014 (source in Hungarian). The proposed 2017 government budget called for 903 billion forints in funding for the Prime Ministry and organizations operating under its authority (source in Hungarian).

Increasing Duties and Authority

In addition to the customary organizational, consultative and communications duties of prime minister’s offices, the Orbán government’s Prime Ministry has gained authority over the following state organizations:

—The Information Office (Információs Hivatal), Hungary’s civilian foreign-intelligence service, from the Foreign Ministry on September 1, 2012 (source in Hungarian).

—The National Development Agency (Nemzeti Fejlesztési Ügynökség, or NFÜ), which was responsible for administration and coordination of Hungary’s European Union developmental funding, from the National Development Ministry on August 1, 2013. The NFÜ was subsequently dissolved and its duties formally transferred directly to the Prime Ministry on January 1, 2014 (source A and B in Hungarian).

—MKB Bank, Hungary’s fourth-largest bank, following the Orbán government’s purchase of MKB from the Munich-based Bayerische Landesbank on October 16, 2014 (source A and B in Hungarian).

—The Hungarian Development Bank (Magyar Fejlesztési Bank, or MFB), which provides Hungarian enterprises with credit under preferential repayment conditions, and Hungary’s postal service, Magyar Posta, from the National Development Ministry on June 6, 2014 (source A and B in Hungarian).

—The company that is conducting the Russian-financed and -implemented expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant from the Hungarian Electricity Works (Magyar Villamos Művek, or MVM) on November 15, 2014 (source A and B in Hungarian).

Information Office logo.

Information Office logo.

The Prime Ministry has assumed duties from all government ministries with the exception of the Defense Ministry since János Lázár became the head of the office in August 2012. The list of duties of the head of the Prime Ministry covered five pages and required 20 minutes to read aloud during the National Assembly committee hearing regarding the nomination of Lázár to serve as minister in charge of the Prime Ministry in June 2014 (source in Hungarian).

The Prime Ministry has, additionally, overseen and conducted some of the Orbán government’s most controversial measures, such as the construction of the Occupation Memorial in Budapest and the crackdown on organizations administering EEA Grant funding for NGOs in Hungary.

Move to Castle Hill

The former Carmelite Monastery

The former Carmelite Monastery and future Prime Ministry building (left) next to the presidential Sándor Palace on Castle Hill in Budapest.

In July 2014, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that the Prime Ministry would move from its current location to the former Carmelite Monastery located next to the Sándor Palace housing the offices of the president (source in Hungarian). Prime Ministry Spokesperson Éva Kurucz said that the office would be moved to the former monastery building on Castle Hill in Budapest by March 15, 2016 (source in Hungarian).

However, the Prime Ministry subsequently postponed its move to Castle Hill until late 2017 or early 2018 (source in Hungarian).

The government allocated 8.3 billion forints in 2016 and 5.75 billion forints in 2017 for reconstruction of the Carmelite Monastery that will house the Prime Ministry (source in Hungarian).

Moving the Prime Ministry, including the office of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, from the Hungarian Parliament Building to Castle Hill will cost an estimated 16 billion forints, or 50.8 million euros calculated according to the forint-euro exchange rate on May 25, 2016 (source in Hungarian).

Last updated May 8, 2018. 

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