EUA has followed the case of Hungary closely and has, on several occasions, raised its concerns over Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s authoritarian tendencies, which include a history of violations against academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
The ECJ ruling comes against a backdrop of developments that are unprecedented in the European Union, such as the passage of the bill targeting CEU (2017), the ban on gender studies (2018), the European Parliament invoking Article 7 against Hungary (2018), and the passage of a law giving the government unprecedented control over scientific research bodies (2019). There is also evidence of intimidation of academics in the Hungarian media.
Hungary’s actions have been damaging to the country’s reputation and standing, and have worrying implications for research and higher education, both in Hungary and in Europe as a whole. Freedom from political intervention and pressure is a condition sine qua non in enabling universities to fulfil their critical role in our societies.
Regarding the ECJ ruling, there is no appeals process for the Hungarian government and the decision requires that Hungary aligns its laws with EU laws. If this does not happen, Hungary could face fines.