Hungarian Academics’ Open Letter to Manfred Weber, the Group Chair of the European People’s Party

Dear Mr. Weber,

This open letter is a cry for help. We, Hungarian scientists, scholars and university professors turn to you for help in a most serious matter: The Hungarian Government has proposed legislation that would change the Hungarian research landscape dramatically, which tramples on the rule of constitutional law and on basic democratic principles.

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences is an almost 200-year-old institution with numerous research centers and a network of research groups hosted by universities. The centers and institutes are under the self-governance of the Academy and are internationally reviewed regularly. The overall performance of these institutes is good, especially in comparison to the level of funding they receive.

Hungarian Academy of Sciences is the most important and prestigious learned society of Hungary. Its seat is at the bank of the Danube in Budapest.

According to the proposed legislation, the research centers and institutes would be separated from the Academy and organized into a new entity, governed by a board composed of 50 % governmental delegates. Moreover, the plan is to have a further council above this board, entirely consisting of delegates of the government. All the persons in these bodies would be appointed by the Prime Minister. All the assets of the Academy, including real estate, facilities, and all equipment would be used by the new organization without any compensation to the Academy.

The legislation was preceded by a one-year struggle between the government and the Academy. The Government has failed to present any reasonable argument or impact assessment. The leadership of the Academy has unanimously condemned the attack on academic freedom, has presented clear arguments in favor of keeping the institutes within the organization of the Academy and has shown gestures of readiness for compromise. These were swept aside.

The General Assembly of the Hungarian Academy voted twice with an overwhelming majority against the intentions of the Government. The research community has organized itself into the so-called Hungarian Academy Staff Forum. Multiple demonstrations were held, manifestos and protests were published – in vain. We have run out of options.

Prime Minister Mr. Orbán, the leader of the ruling FIDESZ party seems to intend to stay with his party within the EPP in the new legislature. He already ordered concessions to comply with the democratic requirements put forward to him by EPP, like the withdrawal of the system of courts for public administration or that of the special tax for advertisements. The new legislation, which violates the right to academic freedom, and the right to property, is a severe attack on the democratic order and principles. We ask you to put pressure on Mr. Orbán to withdraw the legislation about the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

With best regards,

1 Janos Kertesz Member of the H.A.S. Physicist Professor

2 Pal Acs DSc Literary Historian Professor

3 Julianna Kardos DSc Neurochemist Professor

4 Gyorgy Bazsa DSc Chemist Professor

5 Istvan Fabian DSc Chemist Professor

6 Istvan Juhasz Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Res. Prof.

7 Janos Szepvolgyi DSc Chem. Engineer Professor

8 Mihaly Laki DSc Economist Res. Prof.

9 Andras Kornai DSc Mathematician, linguist Professor

10 Tamas Vicsek Member of the H.A.S. Physicist Professor

11 Maria Csanadi DSc Economist Res. Prof.

12 Andras Recski DSc Mathematician Professor

13 Denes Lajos Nagy DSc Physicist Professor

14 Roza Vajda Member of the H.A.S. Economist Professor

15 Ilona Kovacs Member of the H.A.S. Psychologist Professor

16 Judit Gardos PhD Sociologist Research fellow

17 Zsuzsa Hetenyi DSc Literary Historian Professor

18 Peter Mihalyi DSc Economist Professor

19 Sandor Gorog Member of the H.A.S. Chemist Professor

20 Miklos Szanyi DSc Economist Professor

21 Gabor Korosi DSc Economist Professor

22 Laszlo Solti Member of the H.A.S. Veterinarian surgeon Professor, Rector

23 Gabriella Csik PhD Biophysicist Assoc. Professor

24 Peter Major Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Professor

25 Miklos Koren PhD Economist Professor

26 Lajos Nyikos DSc Chemist Professor

27 Tibor Vamos Member of the H.A.S. Comp. Scientist Professor

28 Agnes Heller Member of the H.A.S. Philosopher Professor

29 Miklos Laczkovich Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Professor

30 Sandor Zsolt Kovacs MSc Economist Researcher

31 Gabor Elek DSc Mathematician Professor

32 Andras Mate CSc Logician Senior Res. Fellow

33 Marta Fulop CSc Psychologist Professor

34 Gabor Klaniczay DSc Historian Professor

35 Karoly Heberger DSc Chemist Professor

36 Andras Simonovits DSc Mathematician Professor

37 Zoltan Grunhut PhD Economist Research fellow

38 Istvan Mayer DSc Physicist Res. Prof.

39 Erno Marosi Member of the H.A.S. Art Historian Professor

40 Zoltan Furedi Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Res. Prof.

41 Annamaria Inzelt DSc Economist Professor

42 Andras Varadi DSc, Member of the Acad. Eu. Chemist Professor

43 Anna Erdei Member of the H.A.S. Immunologist Professor

44 Balazs Lengyel PhD Economist Senior Res. Fellow

45 Laszlo Halpern DSc Economist Sci. Advisor

46 Erzsebet Szalai DSc Sociologist Professor

47 Aniko Biro PhD Economist Senior Res. Fellow

48 Andras Frank Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Professor

49 Dora Gyorffy DSc Political economist Professor

50 Pal Venetianer Member of the H.A.S. & Acad Eu. Biologist Professor

51 Baint Toth DSc, Member of the Acad. Eu. Mathematician Professor

52 Endre Rev DSc Chemical Eng. Professor

53 Peter Somlai DSc Sociologist Professor

54 Bela Gerskovits PhD Political scientist Professor

55 Bulcsu Bognar PhD Sociologist Assoc. Professor

56 Janos Kollo DSc Economist Senior Res. Fellow

57 Ferenc Hudecz Member of the H.A.S. Chemist Professor

58 Ferenc Tallar DSc Philosopher Professor

59 Hans-Martin Gaertner PhD Linguist Res. Professor

60 Imre Voros Member of the H.A.S. Lawyer Professor

61 Miklos Simonyi DSc Chemist Sci. Advisor

62 Zoltan Homonnay DSc Chemist Professor

63 Marton Szilagyi DSc Literary Historian Professor

64 Zoltan Bajnok DSc Physicist Sci. Advisor

65 Vanda Lamm Member of the H.A.S. Lawyer Professor

66 Jozsef Somogyi PhD Engineer researcher

67 Gyorgyi Barta DSc Economist Sci. Advisor

68 Gabriella Bohm DSc Physicist Sci. Advisor

69 Orsolya Szalardy PhD Biologist Research fellow

70 Imre Z. Ruzsa Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Res. Professor

71 Edit Fenyvesi PhD Physicist Researcher

72 Gabor Oszlanyi DSc Physicist Sci. Advisor

73 Gergely Harcos DSc Mathematician Sci. Advisor

74 Gabor Blasko Member of the H.A.S. Chemist Professor

75 Janos M. Rainer Member of the H.A.S. Historian Professor

76 Istvan Kenesei Member of the H.A.S. Linguist Professor

77 Gabor Vargyas DSc Cult. Anthropologist Professor

78 Hubert Janos Kiss PhD Economist Senior Res. Fellow

79 Eva Gyarmathy PhD Psychologist Senior Res. Fellow

80 Ferenc Eros DSc Psychologist Professor

81 Miklos Menyhard DSc Physicist Professor

82 Zsuzsanna Marton PhD Physicist Assoc. Professor

83 Peter Nemeth PhD Geologist Researcher

84 Domokos Szasz Member of the H.A.S. & Acad Eu. Mathematician Professor

85 Gabor Takacs DSc Physicist Professor

86 Marianne Blazso DSc Chemist Sci. Advisor

87 Gabor Lente DSc Chemist Profesor

88 Gabor Timar PhD Geophysicist Assoc. Professor

89 Peter Gurin PhD Physicist Assoc. Professor

90 Ferenc Simon DSc Physicist Professor

91 Tamas Bauer Dr. Economist Professor

92 Robert Freud CSc Mathematician Assoc. Professor

93 Julia Szalai Member of the H.A.S. Sociologist Professor

94 Judit Gervai PhD Behavior scientist Professor

95 Laszlo Majtenyi DSc Lawyer Professor

96 David Visontai PhD Physicist Research fellow

97 Ellak Somfai DSc Physicist Sci. Advisor

98 Annamaria Sinkovics PhD Physicist Senior Res. Fellow

99 Gabriella Pasztor PhD Physicist Senior Res. Fellow

100 Krisztina Demeter DSc Economist Professor

101 Zsofia Anna Gaal PhD psychologist Senior Res. Fellow

102 Edit Szilagyi DSc Physicist Sci. Advisor

103 Lajos Diosi DSc Physicist Professor

104 Tamas Pajkossy DSc Physicist Sci. Advisor

105 Balazs Sarkadi Member of the H.A.S. Biologist Professor

106 Andras Suto DSc Physicist Res. Professor

107 Arpad Lukacs PhD Physicist postdoctoral fellow

108 Csaba Bagyinka DSc Biologist Res. Advisor

109 Laszlo Bencze PhD Chemist Assoc. Professor

110 Andras Szucs Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Professor

111 Miklos Mesterhazi PhD Philosopher Senior Res. Fellow

112 Imre Barany Member of the H.A.S. Mathematician Professor

113 Gyorgy Lengyel DSc Sociologist Professor

114 Adrienn Molnar PhD Economist postdoctoral fellow

115 Tibor Valuch DSc Historian Professor

116 Andras Janossy Member of the H.A.S. Physicist Professor

117 Attila Kunfi MSc Chemist PhD student

118 Karoly Takacs PhD Sociologist Senior Res. Fellow

119 Gabor Katona PhD Physicist Assistant Professor

120 Andras Falus Member of the H.A.S. Biologist Professor

121 Balazs Patkos PhD Mathematician Senior Res. Fellow

122 Laszlo Kalman CSc Theor. Linguist Assistant Professor

123 Gabor Recski PhD Linguist Assistant Professor

124 Laszlo Heja PhD Neurochemist Research fellow

125 Balazs Hangya PhD Neurochemist Research fellow

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