Universities challenge Horizon Europe funding ban in court

Six Hungarian universities hit with a European Union ban on accessing Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ funds could have a case, according to a leading expert on Hungarian constitutional law commenting after the universities lodged appeals to the Court of Justice of the European Union, claiming the move is unreasonable, disproportionate and lacks solid factual basis, writes Thomas Brent for Science|Business.

Kim Lane Scheppele, professor of sociology and international affairs at Princeton University in the United States, told Science|Business the EU Council would win if the appeals are heard, but the case is not without substance and could hinge on wording within the conditionality mechanism.

This is designed to protect “final beneficiaries” if the EU cuts funds to a project because it suspects corruption or rule of law breaches. In that event, member state governments have to step in to pick up the bill. If, for example, a company constructing a bridge in a town had its EU funding pulled, the government would have to step in to finance the project so that the final beneficiary, the town, is not affected. In Scheppele’s view, the universities, as newly formed private entities under the model of public trust foundations, could claim to be final beneficiaries and so should be protected from funding cuts.
Full report on the Science|Business site