2023. 09. 22.
At the meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions (PETI), the petition of the National Youth Council of Hungary (NIT) was presented, which aims to get the European Commission to relaunch the Erasmus+ higher education exchange programmes for all students, teachers and researchers. As a result of the meeting, the Hungarian petition remains on the table with the support of all political groups.
For decades, Erasmus+ has been the most popular programme among young people in the European Union, with hundreds of thousands of Hungarian students, researchers and teachers having already participated. Erasmus+ mobility has a positive impact on educational, social, personal and professional skills; it also enhances language learning and competitiveness. In her address, Fidesz MEP Andrea Bocskor stressed: “It is a huge injustice to students that the European Commission is using them as a tool of blackmail because of the political dispute with the Hungarian government. This is obvious, because during the months of dialogue, the European Commission keeps imposing new conditions, delaying the agreement.”
The petition, launched by the National Youth Council and its member organisations, with more than 2,300 signatures, requests that students from Hungarian universities that shifted in governance models should not be the victims of this dispute and that they should be allowed to continue to participate in Erasmus+ mobility programmes as soon as possible.
“The Commission’s decision affects two-thirds of universities, up to 180,000 students; the interests of students thus cannot be ignored. Instead of the direct and harmful intention of withdrawing funding, the interests of Hungarian students should be taken into account. It is time to take the side of the students, not the side of injustice”, the MEP underlined.
In his speech, MEP Loránt Vincze of the Romanian RMDSZ party pointed out: “We rarely talk about the consequences of EU decisions, but we have to do so now because the EU intends to punish the Hungarian government. However, it is instead punishing the next generation of Hungarian leaders and intellectuals, while pretending that the decision only affects a few individuals. How can this decision be an effective instrument for the protection of fundamental rights, when it is in itself discrimination, an attack on mobility and academic freedom? I have drawn the attention of my colleagues and the Commission representative present to the fact that it is not true that the Hungarian government is not taking action in the case of universities run by public interest trusts: the alleged conflict of interest complained about by the Commission has already been resolved.”