BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) urges the EU ministers for education to put pressure on Hungary during the Education, Youth and Sports Council (EYSC) in Brussels on 10 February. Budapest recently adopted a new law on higher education that, according to ESU, represents an unjustifiable restriction of freedom of movement for workers and is a violation of the 45th Article of the Treaty of the European Union (TFEU).
“Budapest should be called to a halt, right here, right now,” said Allan Päll, Chair of ESU on 10 February. He added: “Cutting back on education budgets is one thing and Hungary is also doing this. But limiting the freedom of individuals violates the basic freedoms of an EU citizen.” ESU has sent a letter to the European Commission (EC) on this issue on 9 February (1), asking the EU Executive to start a legal investigation.
EU-wide cutting in education
Not only Hungary but in total nineteen EU member states are cutting down on public investment for higher education, according to numbers from the EC. Päll said: “Although the European Commission is giving member states a sharp warning in the joint implementation report (2) that further austerity in education is endangering the EU’s way out of the economic crisis, we fear that the EU countries are pushing the bill over to students as tuition fees are going up and public funding is going down."
He added: “Considering the current situation for youth in Europe and lack of job opportunities, this is certainly only short-sighted.” At their meeting, the ministers for education will also discuss the Annual Growth Survey, published by the Commission in November 2011, which indicates that youth unemployment is very high in the EU: 20 percent on average, with Spain having 50 percent of its young sitting at home. In this context, ESU thinks it is unbelievable that this many countries are limiting access to higher education and are reducing quality and student support.
Watch webcast from the Council meeting (scheduled to start on 10 February 2012 10:00 CET)
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For more information, please contact:
Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32/479.591.499 or firstname.lastname@example.org or
Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 or email@example.com
(1) Letter from ESU to the European Commission can be found here: /asset/News/6001/Letter-ESU-Hungary.doc
(2) Report can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc28_en.htm