“Students cannot fell victim to political disputes,” Iliana Ivanova, the European Commission’s appointee for education, said on Tuesday, and called for a resolution of controversies between the commission and Hungary over the Erasmus and Horizon higher education programmes. She said it was regrettable that young people were stripped of opportunities, but added that “rules will be rules and they need to be observed”. If the Hungarian authorities agree to meet the European Commission’s legal requirements, obstacles for Hungary’s accessing community funding will be removed, she said. She pledged to be “part of the solution” and contribute “information and goodwill” to the process. “The ball is in the Hungarian government’s court … it is up to them when they meet the requirements,” Ivanova said.
Andrea Bocskor and András Gyürk, MEPs of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz, called for an urgent resolution in a statement sent to MTI. Bocskor said the commission’s “discriminative” decision to exclude Hungarian universities run by private foundations from the programmes could impact two thirds of Hungary’s universities and a total 180,000 students from next year on. “Time is running out and an urgent solution is needed,” she said. Gyürk said his group expected Ivanova to initiate an immediate supervision of the commission’s decision, and to “restore the rights and opportunities of Hungarian students and researchers”.