George Soros was behind the opposition’s call for Monday’s special session of parliament on the topic of the Central European University, Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa said, referring to the US financier.
Lawmakers of the ruling alliance boycotted the session, which thereby lacked a quorum.
The Socialists, LMP and independent MPs had proposed debating abolishment of “Lex CEU”, the higher education law amendment which triggered a decision by the European Commission to launch an infringement procedure against Hungary.
Kósa told a news conference that Fidesz had notified the opposition it would “not attend sessions with the sole purpose of political noisemaking”.
“There is no point in changing the well-functioning higher education law only because George Soros is vexed by no longer being able to play tricks in higher education,” he said, adding that Fidesz had no intention of changing the law in question. The CEU, which the financier has founded and supports, is a marginal problem, he insisted.
Regarding criticism by the European Commission on the issue, Kósa said the commission had ignored the fact that higher education falls within the powers of member states.
In reaction, Socialist group leader Bertalan Tóth said the party stood by its demand to scrap “Lex CEU”.
By boycotting the session, the Fidesz and their allied Christian Democrats “have shown they don’t care about the country’s future or the fate of several hundred thousand people who they have got into trouble,” he said.
The European Commission has given Hungary 30 days to amend the higher education law, Tóth noted. Failing this, the country could be fined, he added.
Hungary’s higher education act is overall in line with existing European norms, but its amended version tightening rules on foreign universities already present in the country contain some “highly problematic” requirements, the Venice Commission said.