Budapest, April 10 (MTI) – President János Áder signed on Monday an amended law on higher education which governs the operations of foreign universities in Hungary.
The president said in a statement that he had reviewed the bill’s constitutionality as well as its compliance with international treaties. Áder said he had determined that the bill was not in violation of the right to the freedom of education or the passage in the constitution granting autonomy to higher education institutions. He said the bill was not in violation of international treaties or European Union directives, either.
Áder also called on the government to begin talks with the institutions affected by the law on its implementation.
“I am convinced that with mutual good will … this can be done within the deadline specified in the law,” Áder palisaid. “It is in all our interests that the values created over the past years at foreign universities operating in Hungary can continue to be enriched and the academic work can continue uninterrupted,” he added.
Among the measures, foreign universities must be subject to a bilateral agreement between Hungary and their state of orgin.
A last-minute change to the bill moved forward the date for revoking the licences of institutions that fail to comply with the new rules to January 1, 2018 from September 1, 2018.
It was passed in an fast-tracked procedure with 123 votes cast in favour by lawmakers of governing Fidesz and the Christian Democrats in the 199-seat assembly on April 4.
The Central European University (CEU), founded by Hungarian-born American financier George Soros, maintains the law would compromise its continued operation in Hungary.
After the vote, the CEU turned to Áder asking the president to withhold his signature from the law and send it to the Constitutional Court for review.
On Sunday a large demonstration in support of the CEU was held in central Budapest.