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ALLEA reinforces call for academic freedom of MTA

The European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) has repeated its call to protect the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), expressing solidarity with its member academy and calling for support of all researchers and staff affiliated with the MTA.

The MTA has been a member of ALLEA since the latterʼs foundation in 1994. ALLEA says that due to the autonomy of the institution, the excellence of its researchers and the quality of its research output, the Hungarian academy enjoys widespread trust among both the local population and within the European and global scientific community, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

ALLEA says that, in response to the actions taken by the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology concerning the allocation of funding, it recalls its positions expressed in a previous statement and an open letter, denouncing "recurring" and "unfounded" interventions by the Hungarian government.

The statement observes that the governmentʼs actions compromise the institutional autonomy of the Hungarian Academy; infringe on internationally applied and accepted principles of academic freedom, scientific excellence and the self-governance of scientific institutions; undermine the traditionally excellent and internationally renowned Hungarian science base, and threaten its leading and pioneering role in the region; politicize scientific research and jeopardize Hungary’s strong European and international partnerships in science; and threaten to create a structure that will diminish the quality and scope of scientific output of Hungary, particularly but not restricted to research conducted within the humanities.

The federation also calls upon the Hungarian government to uphold and guarantee the autonomy of academic organizations and institutions as guaranteed in Article X of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, in order for the scientific community of Hungary to fulfill its tasks and mandates, and to contribute to the country’s social and economic wellbeing and development.

ALLEA shares the MTAʼs position that the proposed reorganization of the academy structure would gravely endanger the future funding of all scientific disciplines, and may particularly threaten research in the humanities. Therefore, the federation supports a resolution adopted by the Presidium of the MTA on February 12, declaring that the Hungarian government should make available the basic state funding, which is due by law, to the academy.  Additionally, they agree with the continued need for thorough negotiations and consultations concerning the future structure of the research institutions within the MTA.