Hungarian Corruption Means Students Lose Access to Erasmus and Horizon

Budapest is on its way to behead its scientific elite

15 February 2023

Dorka Takacsy

Marcin Król Fellow

Years after squeezing the Central European University out of the country, Hungarian higher education is back in the international news due to fresh allegations of systemic corruption, and this time students could lose the Erasmus and Horizon programmes.

Unfortunately, most Hungarian universities are to be cut off from Erasmus and Horizon Europe programmes due to rule of law violations not being addressed adequately during the massive privatization drive, which resulted in concerns about public procurement and corruption.

The recent changes in Hungarian higher education suggest that resolving the problems does not seem to be easy or fast, or whether a satisfactory solution can be brought about by 15 February. The current situation threatens an expulsion from the Horizon Europe programme and that could push Hungary’s top researchers to leave the country.

First Victim: The Central European University

For many, the authoritarian nature of the Orbán regime became clear when it effectively squeezed out the Central European University (CEU). Even the European Peoples’ Party (EPP)’s by-then chair, Manfred Weber, came to visit the institution that, according to international statistics, was by far the best in Hungary.

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Dorka Takacsy

Marcin Król Fellow

Marcin Król Fellow 2022/2023 at Visegrad Insight and a researcher passionate about politics in Russia and the CEE region. She pursues her PhD studies at the Corvinus University of Budapest, contemplating the broader topic of Russian domestic disinformation about the West. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy (CEID), focusing on disinformation.

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