George Soros-backed university is 'forced out' of Hungary

Elias Hubbard
December 5, 2018

In October, for example, Hungary eliminated gender study programs at public universities.

"Despite our consternation at being forced to leave Budapest, we are excited to offer our students the opportunity to study in another great central European city", he said.

"CEU has been forced out", said CEU president and rector Michael Ignatieff, and the institution "couldn't wait any longer" to start its student recruitment for 2019. “This is unprecedented. A USA institution has been driven out of a country that is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

"The departure of these US-accredited programmes from Hungary will be a loss for the CEU community, for the United States, and for Hungary", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"Arbitrary eviction of a reputable university is a flagrant violation of academic freedom".

Hungary's fight with CEU is widely seen as part of a more comprehensive crackdown on academic freedom, including tighter budgetary and research controls over Hungarian universities.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying the U.S. government was "disappointed" that no agreement had been concluded between Orban's government and CEU, which has an enrollment of over 1,400 students from 118 countries, as well as almost 400 permanent or visiting faculty.

The European Commission has taken Hungary to court over the higher education law and has clashed with Orban over other issues related to the rule of law and democratic standards. It is Central Europes most successful applicant for competitive European Union research grant funding, with more than €19 million awarded for the 2018-26 period. "Over the course of 20 months, Central European University has taken all steps to comply with Hungarian legislation, launching educational activities in the United States that were certified by USA authorities", the statement read.

In addition, in accordance with the law of the foreign educational institution has to operate not only in Hungary but also in the country where it was established.

Orban's critics say the legal changes deliberately targeted CEU, which is regularly ranked as the top university in Hungary.

According to the Post, Orban has accused Soros of encouraging immigration into Europe, which Soros has denied, according to Reuters.

Ignatieff said the Orban government imposed a host of new requirements for the university to meet in order to keep operating as an global graduate school in Budapest.

Hungary's government has dismissed the university's move as a "Soros-style bluff".

A 22-year-old CEU student from Russia, who gave his name as Vladimir, said the university's fate reminded him of how the Russian government had treated a similar institution in Saint Petersburg.

Some Hungarian-accredited courses will still be taught at the Budapest campus, the university added.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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