Give chaos a chance

The refugee crisis is the major humanitarian and political issue in all of the European Union, including Hungary, and it will probably remain so for quite some time. However, life goes on. The Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, János Lázár has, for example, submitted to Parliament a Bill about the establishment of a new ministry: the Prime Minister’s Cabinet.

As we wrote about this in May (here), the current leader of the Fidesz Parliamentary Faction, Antal Rogán would hold this new position.

Who is the boss?

Who is the boss?

As a consequence, there would be two ministries coordinating government activity:

  • The Prime Minister’s Office, responsible for coordinating governance activity and public policy, and
  • The Cabinet of the Prime Minister, tasked with political coordination.

Looking at the current org chart of the Prime Minister’s Office (sorry it is in Hungarian, but that doesn’t make much difference), which is by far the largest ministry, one can see that it is as complex as it can get. Leaving aside the part on the right of the chart that refers to the “Deputy Prime Minister” (a token office held by the Christian Democratic KDNP), 8 state secretaries and 24 deputy state secretaries run the Office that currently also includes the Prime Minister’s cabinet, the scheduling office, etc. and deals with everything from EU relations to the construction of the Paks nuclear plant and the supervision of secret services.

Org chart of the Prime Minister's Office

Org chart of the Prime Minister’s Office

The Bill submitted to Parliament does not state how the functions of the two ministries will be split. Speculations are rife. For example, it is most likely that government communications will move to the Cabinet Office, together with its roughly HUF 40bn (€ 129mn) budget.

It took over 3 months for Mr Orbán’s plan to use Mr Rogán as his chief of staff to be transformed into a Bill. We are convinced that it will take another several months for the actual splitting off of the Cabinet from the Prime Minister’s Office to happen. In the meantime – and we are convinced that afterwards too – there will be utter chaos. The current Prime Minister’s Office is already almost dysfunctional because of its size; however, the lines of command and communication have been relatively clear. As a result of the change it might become somewhat smaller, but the command structure will become non-transparent due to the informal role of the “political” Cabinet Ministry and the built in rivalry between Messrs. Lázár and Rogán about who will control the access to Mr Orbán.

We are looking forward to this entertaining show that will no doubt will slow down decision making further and cost the taxpayer another few billion HUF-s.

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