If the Erasmus scholarship negotiations with the European Union do not lead to a result, the government will pay the cost of the scholarships – announced the minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday in Budapest, in the Government Information.
Gergely Gulyás called what is happening, in this case, unacceptable and intolerable, noting that one could list a long list of Western European universities where active politicians sit on the boards of trustees and governing bodies.
The minister emphasized that when the agreement was reached with the European Commission, the Hungarian government acted as Brussels requested in the case of conflict of interest rules. The codified text was also negotiated, which was approved, and even Hungary would have been open to accepting stricter conflict of interest rules, but no such request came from Brussels.
According to his information, the committee has not yet given a clear reason why it does what it does and what expectations it has of Hungarian higher education institutions.
He said that Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics will consult, they hope that it is just a misunderstanding and that the issue can be clarified quickly.
If an agreement is not reached, the government will pay the cost of next year’s Erasmus scholarships
– Gergely Gulyás said, also indicating that if they do not find a solution, Hungary will file a lawsuit at the Court of Justice of the European Union due to the decision to suspend the program.
He said that the scholarships for this year were signed last year, and they are not affected by any council decision or committee opinion, the decision applies to next year’s Erasmus scholarships.
Gergely Gulyás said that they would like to find a peaceful solution, but the fact that they discussed the matter with the committee and acted exactly as the board requested shows the limitations of this possibility.
The minister presented several data regarding the universities maintained by public interest trust foundations.
In the case of model-changing universities, the number of different scientific publications increased by 18 percent in one year, he said.
He added that the number of Hungarian students graduating in 2022 did not increase compared to 2020, despite this, the number of admitted students increased by nine percent in 2021 and by another 7.5 percent in 2022 compared to 2020.
According to Gergely Gulyás, the number of foreign students increased by 65 percent compared to 2013, there are 40,000 foreign students in Hungary. From 2020 to 2021, despite the coronavirus epidemic, the number of foreign students increased, 11,300 new foreign students applied to Hungarian higher education, most of them at model-changing universities, he explained.
He said that Hungarian universities have made significant progress in international rankings as well; in the Times Higher Education ranking four years ago, seven institutions were among the best, two years ago nine, and this year 11 institutions.
He also added that, despite the difficult economic situation, the state support for higher education in 2022 and 2023 as a whole doubled the operating support in 2020.
Main picture: canva.con