Budapest, December 10 (MTI) – Hungary’s education policy will remain open despite the migrant crisis and “we continue to welcome international students”, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday, adding the government will expand the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship scheme.

Orban told a reception for Stipendium Hungaricum recipients that they have all arrived in Hungary in a regulated way, they abide by the country’s laws and relations are based on mutual respect.

Addressing students from Muslim countries, he said Hungarian politics are based on Christian roots and the teachings of Christianity prohibit an anti-Muslim stance. “We reject any politics of that kind.”

He said the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship scheme will be expanded to include 80 countries instead of the current 45, and the government has already made available the required resources to the ministry.

Hungary represents a tough and resolute position in the migrant issue, rejecting uncontrolled and unregulated inflow but while this stance will be maintained, international students will continue to be welcomed, he said.

“They will be safe here and under our protection and according to the rules of our hospitability,” Orban said.

It is a long-standing tradition, going back to communist times, that Hungary offers study opportunities to international students, he said.

“Hungarian-Chinese links for instance have always been good and excellent links have developed with numerous Arab countries in education, a heritage worth nurturing,” Orban said. Hungary will continue the policy of opening to the East, he added.

The meeting for Stipendium Hungaricum participants was held at the Italian Cultural Institute. Orban said he wanted to start a tradition of organsing such meetings attended by politicians.

Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog said that since the Hungarian government launched the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship scheme as part of the policy of opening to the East in 2013, a total of 1,653 international students have participated.

State secretary for higher education Laszlo Palkovics told MTI that the scheme financed by the government currently represents around 4 billion forints (EUR 12.6m) extra income for universities, which will be increased to 9 billion forints next year and 17 billion forints in 2017.


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