If the matter of Hungary’s Erasmus funding is not resolved, Hungary will file a lawsuit at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) over the resolution suspending the programme, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said.
This year’s Erasmus grants have already been approved and are not impacted by any council resolution or commission opinion, Gergely Gulyás said, adding that the decision applies to the 2024 grants. Hungary wants to find a calm solution to the matter, he said, adding there may be little room for one given that the government had consulted with the EC and fulfilled its requests.
Meanwhile, Gulyás said the number of academic publications by universities that have adopted the foundational model increased by 18% over a single year.
Higher education admissions increased by 9% in 2021 and a further 7.5% in 2022 compared with 2020 despite there not having been more secondary school graduates in 2022 than in 2020, he said.
There are currently around 40,000 international students studying at Hungarian universities and colleges, up by 65% since 2013, he said. Hungarian higher education institutions received applications from 11,300 international students between 2020 and 2021 despite the coronavirus pandemic, most of which went to universities run by foundations, Gulyás said. Hungarian universities have also moved up significantly in international rankings, he said, noting that there were 11 institutions ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings this year, compared with nine two years ago and seven four years ago.
Also, government funding for higher education is now double what it had been in 2020 despite the difficult economic situation, Gulyás said.
Asked about the conditions of the Erasmus programme, Gulyás said the government would have been prepared to accept any EU request not to have politicians serving on the boards of trustees of universities, but no such request had been made. The EC’s only requirement regarding conflicts of interest was that government officials should not be involved in decisions on EU funds, he said. The government is unable to recall anyone from university boards of trustees; rather, it can only draft conflict-of-interest rules that prohibit members of government and state secretaries from sitting on university boards, he added.