EU to exclude foundation-run universities from Erasmus programs, affecting 21 Hungarian institutions

January 09. 2023. – 09:02 AM



Copied to clipboard

Universities in Hungary that operate as public trust foundations or are maintained by such foundations will not be able to receive fresh grants from the Erasmus+ exchange programme funded by the European Union, Népszava writes. According to the newspaper, at the end of December, the European Commission sent a notification – among others – to the national authorities in charge of managing the foundations.

The ban also applies to the Horizon Europe research and innovation framework programme, and concerns proposals evaluated after 15 December 2022.
In total, the ban affects 21 Hungarian universities, as many of them operate as foundations.

According to the paper, the decision is motivated by the fact that "the Orbán government continues to keep foundation-run universities under the control of Fidesz politicians". The paper further writes that the decision was made by EU finance ministers on 15 December, when they froze almost a third of the cohesion funds Hungary was due to receive between 2021-2027. At the same time, they instructed the EU not to enter a new financial agreement with any public trust foundation established under the Hungarian law adopted in 2021 or with a legal entity that maintains such a trust.

According to the European Commission's data, in 2020, 22 622 Hungarians participated in Erasmus+ exchanges abroad in higher education, vocational education and training, school education and adult learning, with EU funding totalling €40.45 million. Hungary's prestigious Corvinus University, which has since undergone a model change, and is now run by a public trust foundation, was among the three universities sending the most participants. Corvinus is also painfully affected by the decision about Horizon: between 2014 and 2020, the institution won €3.6 million in Horizon 2020 research funding for 11 of its projects.

In addition to Corvinus, the universities concerned include the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the University of Veterinary Medicine, Semmelweis University, the University of Theatre and Film Arts, (SZFE) the Hungarian University of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Óbuda University, and all the major universities outside of the captial, including Debrecen, Szeged, Pécs, Miskolc, Széchenyi István University in Győr and the University of Sopron.

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!