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Orban’s policy hit Hungarian students. They were cut off from the Erasmus programme

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Education and research programs – Erasmus Plus and Horizon Europe – have been suspended for Hungary. The protests of the government in Budapest were to no avail – the decision was upheld by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Just a few years ago, Hungarian students touted the benefits of participating in the EU’s Erasmus programme. – You can learn, travel, take part in workshops, you can become a volunteer. Erasmus can give you inspiration to shape your future. So do it, said Dori Baktai, a student from Hungary, in 2019.

Today young Hungarians suffer because of the actions of their government. At the beginning of the year, the European Commission excluded Hungarian public universities from EU educational and research programs – Erasmus Plus and Horizon Europe. The reason is the risk of embezzlement. According to the regulations adopted in recent years, Hungarian universities are run by foundations, and their councils include politicians from Fidesz, the ruling party. – We have reservations about the conflict of interest due to the involvement of politicians and the related lack of transparency in the spending of public funds – explained Eric Mamer, a spokesman for the European Commission in January 2023.

In May, several Hungarian universities sued the European Commission. The University of Debrecen has requested the immediate suspension of the provisions of Brussels. Now the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that the Commission’s decision remains in force. Before the pandemic, which suspended student exchange programs, more than 20,000 people in Hungary benefited from EU educational programs a year – not only students, but also lecturers and high school students. The most popular exchange destinations were Germany, Spain and Italy. The European Union spent around EUR 40 million a year on this.

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01.05.2023 | Hungary with the highest inflation in the EU. Orban’s government blames Brussels for the rise in pricesJacek Tacik | TVN facts

No arguments

A few weeks ago, a special delegation of Viktor Orban’s government made an attempt to defend Hungary. There were no rational arguments, but there was a game on emotions. The European Commission has been accused of using double standards. MEP Kinga Gal said it was unacceptable for Brussels, which is blackmailing the Hungarian government for its peaceful, anti-immigration and anti-gender stance, to punish the innocent academic world. Orban’s government kept silent about the fact that the European Commission took action, because reservations about the procedures for managing public universities in Hungary in December 2022 were expressed by the finance ministers of the EU member states, so the argument about Brussels’ prejudiced eurocrats has no basis.

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