Hungarian opposition: Government bleeds out Academy of Sciences

The government’s treatment of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) is unacceptable as it aims to bleed out the institution – a group of Hungarian opposition MPs stated in their joint press conference on Monday.

The opposition representatives submitted a joint motion to convene a meeting of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on Culture to discuss the situation of the HAS but the committee’s pro-government majority turned it down, said Democratic Coalition MP Zsolt Gréczy.

The politician voiced his opinion that Viktor Orbán had apparently entrusted Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics to bleed out the HAS and destroy the academic research institutes. According to the MP, the HAS is losing its independence and international relations, which leads to the destruction of scientific centres.

Jobbik’s Balázs Ander told the media that the government’s policy against the HAS was a clear indication of Fidesz’ anti-intelligentsia and anti-science attitude. The funds allocated to research and development have been reduced by more than half in the public sector since 2010, the politician emphasized.

Ágnes Kunhalmi (Hungarian Socialist Party) noted that the HAS had become completely dependant and vulnerable since more than half of its funds had been reallocated to the budget of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology. Wherever Fidesz wants to extend its control or undermine the position of its opponents, it withdraws the funding from the area, and that’s what is happening to the HAS right now, she added.

Ms Kunhalmi also expressed her concerns about the way how the government judged research projects based on their direct value, thus heavily favouring applied research over basic research. The Socialists believe the two areas need to be financed equally.

Independent MP Szabolcs Szabó concluded that László Palkovics broke both his ministerial oath and the law when he withdrew the majority of the HAS’ funds without any real discussion or coordination.


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