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EUA supports ALLEA’s call for protecting the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The statement of the European University Association, 21 February 2019

ALLEA (ALL European Academies), the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, published a statement on 15 February calling on the Hungarian government to cease its infringements on the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of the Hungarian Academy, a long-standing member of ALLEA.

ALLEA’s statement comes after the government of Viktor Orbán proposed a re-organisation of the Academy’s structure, which would gravely endanger the future funding of all scientific disciplines and particularly threaten research in the humanities.

EUA supports ALLEA, its partner organisation, in calling on the Hungarian government to uphold and assure the autonomy of academic institutions, as guaranteed in Article X of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, and enable the scientific community to play its role in contributing to the country’s social and economic well-being. EUA also joins ALLEA in expressing its solidarity with and support for the researchers and staff affiliated with the Hungarian Academy.

The Hungarian government’s move against its country’s Academy of Sciences and Humanities raises renewed concerns regarding the negative trajectory of university autonomy and academic freedom in Hungary. This is demonstrated particularly in the deliberate targeting by Prime Minister Orbán’s government of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, which in December 2018 announced that it would move a large part of its activities to Vienna for the 2019-2020 academic year, leading to the first forced closure of a major university in an EU country. Other infringements on academic freedom and institutional autonomy have included a government ban on gender studies programmes, an unusually high tax on programmes for refugees and asylum seekers and the intimidation of academics in the Hungarian media.

EUA would like to emphasise once again that these developments, which are unprecedented in the European Union, are highly damaging to the country’s reputation and have worrying implications for research and higher education, both in Hungary and in Europe as a whole. EUA will continue to monitor the situation and support its members and partners.


The British Academy joins calls to safeguard academic autonomy of Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The British Academy supports the statement by the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) calling for the protection of the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The statement (below) follows the latest in a continuing series of infringements by the Hungarian government on the academic freedom of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

In supporting ALLEA’s statement the Academy reiterates the previous concerns it has raised over academic freedom in Hungary. In July 2018, the foreign secretaries of the British Academy and the Royal Society sent an open letter to the Hungarian Minister of Innovation and Technology, Mr László Palkovics, following the proposal of new laws that – the Academies believed – would compromise the scientific freedom and independence of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Support letter of EuroScience

EuroScience expresses once again its strong support to you and to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the difficult decisions you are currently facing, and we are open to examining further actions that you may feel appropriate in support of your effort.

The support letter is here.

Support letter of President of the Science Academy – Bilim Akademisi, Turkey

As President of the Science Academy – Bilim Akademisi, Turkey, I would like to express sympathies and support, along the ALLEA statements, for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences regarding the governmental intervention and pressure that MTA is faced with. Our Science Academy was founded as a non-governmental organization after the government decided to appoint members to the official Turkish Academy of Sciences, TÜBA, at which the majority of TÜBA members resigned. We understand your situation in these times of difficulty not only for science and the pursuit of truth but also, and connectedly, for freedom of expression and democracy.

With my best regards,
M. Ali Alpar, Professor of Astrophysics,
President, The Science Academy-Bilim Akademisi, Turkey

You can find the letter here.