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The government hopes to reverse the ’Erasmus decision’

January 13th, 2023

While Cabinet Minister Tibor Navracsics asks the European Commission what Hungary should do to reopen the Erasmus programme to its foundation-run universities, pro-government commentators find the approach of the EC politically motivated.

Tibor Navracsics, the minister in charge of negotiations with the EU over the release of European funds to Hungary, has written a letter to the two competent European Commissioners asking them what exactly their problem is with Hungary’s foundation-run universities and what solutions they suggest. The Commission made it clear early this week that it would exclude those universities from the Erasmus scholarship scheme and the Horizon researchers’ programme, on account of incompatibility problems. Navracsics wrote that Hungary fulfilled the incompatibility rules required of it in December but is ready to take further measures if necessary. (For the background, see BudaPost, January 12). The problem appears to be the presence of government politicians on the boards running 21 Hungarian universities. The government said it would take the case to court if no agreement is reached and would finance the Erasmus programme in the meantime.

Mandiner devotes two comments to the case. Rudolf Oblat suspects that the European Commission is deliberately instigating hatred among students towards their government by excluding them from the Erasmus programme. He believes that the move is futile since students will not revolt against the government.

For her part, a  commentator writing under the pen name Francesca Rivafinoli asks why the Commission doesn’t object to openly political moves by French universities, one of which invited students not to vote for the right-wing Rassemblement National, while the Union of French Universities called on the population to vote for President Macron in the presidential elections.

In the second Magyar Nemzet editorial on this subject in as many days, Dávid Megyeri quotes a recent survey according to which four out of five Europeans blame soaring energy prices on the European Union and its sanctions on Russia. If that kind of awakening continues, he writes, Europeans will perhaps one day also condemn the European Commission for unjustly discriminating against Hungarian students.

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