The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has called on the government to sign the agreement enabling the Central European University (CEU) to continue its operations in Budapest.
Hungary tightened rules governing the operations of foreign universities in the country last year, requiring foreign colleges and universities in Hungary to operate on the basis of an interstate agreement and to run a campus in the country in which they are based.
Gergely Arató, DK’s education spokesman, told a news conference on Monday that the agreement to be signed between the State of New York and the Hungarian government that would create the “otherwise completely unnecessary” legal conditions for CEU’s continued operations has been on the government’s table since September.
Arató said it was already clear last April when the higher education law was changed that the amendment had only been introduced to “make things harder on” CEU.
And the Venice Commission’s report on the law made it clear that the legislation was unfair and violated international law, he added.
CEU, founded by US billionaire George Soros, has said that the amended legislation would make its continued operations in Budapest impossible. The university has complained that it was targeted by the amendment because it has no campus in the United States.
Last autumn, CEU said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Bard College to provide educational activities in New York.
Last month, CEU signalled its intent to remain in Budapest after the Open Society Foundations (OSF), also financed by Soros, announced plans to move its headquarters to Berlin.
Arató said if CEU moved its operations to Vienna, those who would lose out on the university’s departure would not be CEU or Soros, but rather Hungarian students and professors and the Hungarian higher education system.
Featured image: www.ceu.edu