At its April 27, 2021 session, the Hungarian Parliament passed the law creating public-interest trust foundations. In line with the model change in higher education, these foundations will operate several universities, including Semmelweis University, as of August 1, 2021. The law states that the state acknowledges the role of these foundations in creating value for society, and supports their providing of public services and the achievement of their goals. When planning the state budget, providing financing for these organizations should be a “priority factor.” Upon the creation of these foundations, the state must provide them with at least HUF 600 million in assets. The foundations must receive at least the same amount of support for providing its public services as similar state or local government institutions, and be subjected to the same legal, financing and tender conditions.
The management of the foundation is carried out by a board of trustees, including at least five people, who in the case of foundations operating universities are appointed by the minister for innovation and technology. Foundations must also have a three-member supervisory board, where in the case of higher education institutions one member is delegated by the university’s senate.
The law makes special reference to higher education institutions performing public health care services: in these cases, the public service is transferred along with the accompanying specialized capacities and area-based service obligations, and education, research and patient care is handled in a unified organizational structure. Public health care services cannot be revoked from university clinical centers.
The law also lists the names of the new public-interest trust foundations and the public services they shall provide. The founder’s, owner’s and operator’s rights of Semmelweis University will be exercised by the Foundation for National Health Care and Medical Education. Ensuring the university’s clinical patient care services, operating conditions and institutional development goals have been named as the public services to be carried out by the foundation.
The public services to be provided by the foundation through Semmelweis University are the following:
- conducting higher education activities
- conducting health care activities
- additional education activities related to the university’s training activity but not covered in the first item
Parliament also passed the act detailing the endowments to be granted for the Foundation for National Health Care and Medical Education and Semmelweis University. These endowments are meant to ensure the realization of the developments needed in order to make Semmelweis one of the top 100 universities in the world and one of the top 5 medical schools in Europe.
Parliament calls on the government to take the necessary steps to establish the foundation, whose board of trustees chairman and members will be nominated by the minister for innovation and technology. The endowment for the foundation will include 9,777,658 shares in pharmaceutical company Richter Gedeon Nyrt. Any proceeds from the sale of these shares can be used only to achieve the public-interest goals of the foundation.
Most of the properties, a total of more than 50 real estate assets belonging to the university and thus far owned by state, will be transferred to the institution’s ownership, while the properties indirectly related to core activities, such as holiday resort buildings and the sports center, will be transferred to the foundation.
Translation: Tamás Deme