US State Dept. trying to save Soros-funded Hungarian university

The other day, the BBC informed us about George Soros funded university in Hungary being threatened with closure by new legislation from the Hungarian government.

Students and staff at the Central European University (CEU) in Hungary are protesting against what they say are government plans to close it down.

The university says new legislation proposed by the right-wing Fidesz government on Tuesday night makes it impossible for it to function.

The CEU's founder, philanthropist George Soros, has a strained relationship with the PM Viktor Orban.

But the government says it supports the university and does not want it to go.

Education Secretary Laszlo Palkovics said the proposed legislation followed a review of 28 foreign universities operating in Hungary, including the CEU in Budapest.

"This is not an anti-CEU investigation and not against Mr Soros," he said.

The Hungary-born billionaire founded the university in 1991 and continues to fund it. (snip)

The government says the CEU and other foreign-funded universities are operating outside the law, and that the new legislation aims to create a new legal footing.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Budapest

The CEU, established and registered in New York State, is an independent, private university for masters and PhD students from more than 100 countries.

If approved by parliament, the law would mean the university can only continue working if an intergovernmental agreement between US President Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is signed, and if the university establishes a campus in the US by February next year.

The first is unlikely - both Mr Trump and Mr Orban are sworn enemies of Mr Soros. The second is physically impossible.

Twenty-seven other foreign universities will be affected by the legislation, Education Secretary Laszlo Palkovics told the BBC, and all must abide by the new law.

Only the CEU has no campus in its home country, the US.

 

But Friday, this shows up from the U.S. State Department:

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner 
Acting Spokesperson

Washington, DC
March 31, 2017

The United States is concerned about legislation proposed by the Government of Hungary on March 28th that imposes new, targeted, and onerous regulatory requirements on foreign universities. If adopted, these changes would negatively affect or even lead to the closure of Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.

CEU is a premier academic institution accredited in the United States and Hungary, with staff and students from over 100 countries. It has strengthened Hungary’s influence and leadership in the region through its academic excellence and many contributions to independent, critical thinking.

We urge the Government of Hungary to avoid taking any legislative action that would compromise CEU’s operations or independence.

 

​Why is the Trump admin putting ​out a statement to save it?

The other day, the BBC informed us about George Soros funded university in Hungary being threatened with closure by new legislation from the Hungarian government.

Students and staff at the Central European University (CEU) in Hungary are protesting against what they say are government plans to close it down.

The university says new legislation proposed by the right-wing Fidesz government on Tuesday night makes it impossible for it to function.

The CEU's founder, philanthropist George Soros, has a strained relationship with the PM Viktor Orban.

But the government says it supports the university and does not want it to go.

Education Secretary Laszlo Palkovics said the proposed legislation followed a review of 28 foreign universities operating in Hungary, including the CEU in Budapest.

"This is not an anti-CEU investigation and not against Mr Soros," he said.

The Hungary-born billionaire founded the university in 1991 and continues to fund it. (snip)

The government says the CEU and other foreign-funded universities are operating outside the law, and that the new legislation aims to create a new legal footing.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Budapest

The CEU, established and registered in New York State, is an independent, private university for masters and PhD students from more than 100 countries.

If approved by parliament, the law would mean the university can only continue working if an intergovernmental agreement between US President Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is signed, and if the university establishes a campus in the US by February next year.

The first is unlikely - both Mr Trump and Mr Orban are sworn enemies of Mr Soros. The second is physically impossible.

Twenty-seven other foreign universities will be affected by the legislation, Education Secretary Laszlo Palkovics told the BBC, and all must abide by the new law.

Only the CEU has no campus in its home country, the US.

 

But Friday, this shows up from the U.S. State Department:

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner 
Acting Spokesperson

Washington, DC
March 31, 2017

The United States is concerned about legislation proposed by the Government of Hungary on March 28th that imposes new, targeted, and onerous regulatory requirements on foreign universities. If adopted, these changes would negatively affect or even lead to the closure of Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.

CEU is a premier academic institution accredited in the United States and Hungary, with staff and students from over 100 countries. It has strengthened Hungary’s influence and leadership in the region through its academic excellence and many contributions to independent, critical thinking.

We urge the Government of Hungary to avoid taking any legislative action that would compromise CEU’s operations or independence.

 

​Why is the Trump admin putting ​out a statement to save it?