The leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group called on leaders of EU member states to put pressure on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán over the issue at the Brussels summit starting on Thursday.
The agreement is ready to be signed, Verhofstadt insisted.
“The Central European University has done all it can to comply with an invasive new Hungarian Higher Education Law;
New York State has negotiated an agreement with the Hungarian government which would allow the CEU to provide for education also in the US, as required by Prime Minister Orbán’s new law,” the statement said.
“Instead of signing this agreement, it seems Prime Minister Orbán now intends to prolong a legal deadline, which will drag out proceedings unnecessarily, a move which will have potentially detrimental consequences for the faculty, staff and students.”
“EU leaders must today speak out in order to put pressure on Mr Orbán to stop his prevarication, which represents a continued attack on academic freedom. There is no place in Europe for Prime Minister Orbán’s attacks on educational facilities .
This is about academic freedom, about safeguarding one of the best universities in the world — and safeguarding it in Budapest,” Verhofstadt said.
Lawmakers on Tuesday amended Hungary’s higher education law to extend the deadline for foreign universities and colleges operating in the country to meet the law’s criteria to January 1, 2019.
Hungary tightened rules governing the operations of foreign universities in the country in the spring, 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.