Foreign Assistance

Evaluation of Aid to the Hungarian National Assembly Gao ID: PEMD-92-13 April 29, 1992

A congressional task force was created in April 1990 to help build more effective national legislatures in Central and Eastern Europe. This task force is responsible for providing direct assistant to the parliaments of these emerging democracies. This report evaluates a program of parliamentary training and technical assistance to the Hungarian National Assembly. The Agency for International Development is funding this project, which is being run in Budapest by the State University of New York at Albany.

GAO found that: (1) the university project has been beneficial to the Hungarian National Assembly and the university conducted its activities in the face of substantially difficulties; (2) tension between the two principal goals of the project, the university goal of assisting the parliament by building a Hungarian infrastructure for legislative development through long-term assistance to academics and members of Parliament and staff and the U.S. government's goal of providing timely, short-term assistance directly to the National Assembly on behalf of the United States, has been a major difficulty; (3) the university has completed the tasks described in its agreement with AID and has gone beyond those requirements to conduct valuable assistance activities for the Hungarian government; (4) the university successfully focused the attention of some academics and members of Parliament on issues that affect the viability of the National Assembly as an institution; (5) the contractually required needs prepared by the university early in the program were not adequate to serve as a clear guide to later activities; (6) university activities complement the efforts of the House Special Task Force to develop infrastructure for parliamentary democracy in Hungary; and (7) the Task Force is providing nonpartisan, short-term assistance directly to the National Assembly and the university efforts, also nonpartisan, are longer term and intended to assist the parliament indirectly.

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