Following the latest reports that the Hungarian government has submitted draft legislation to Parliament that would put the Hungarian Academy of Science and its network of institutions under direct government control, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann stated:
“We strongly condemn Viktor Orbán’s latest attack against academic freedom in Hungary. Only one week after the European elections and despite the protests of thousands of citizens, the Hungarian Prime Minister shamelessly continues his anti-democratic campaign by trying to assume command over scientific research in his country. Orbán’s attempt to restrict the freedom of thinking and suppress public debate is another brazen step towards building an autocracy in the heart of Europe. The only truth that Orbán wants to allow is his own truth. This is a blatant violation of our most fundamental European values of democracy and freedom of thought, and therefore completely unacceptable.
“If the Fidesz regime succeeds in gaining control over research activities in Hungary, it will not only influence which topics are addressed by scientists but also how research funds by the European Union are spent. We have a clear message for the Hungarian government: European funds are for the people, not for Mr. Orbán’s oligarchs!
“We Socialists and Democrats will do our utmost in the new term of the European Parliament to ensure that EU funds are protected from corrupt elites and directed in a fair and transparent manner straight to the people. We will make sure that neither the outgoing European Commission nor the incoming one will tolerate the misappropriation and privatisation of European funds by oligarchs. We want this goal to be mirrored clearly in the set-up of the new Commission. In times in which populists and extremists are trying to replace scientific truth by lies, democratic forces have to stand firm on the side of the people and defend academic freedom without hesitation.”