Michael Ignatieff, head of the Central European University, seeks to link a recent European court ruling concerning Hungary’s higher education law with plans to tie receipt of European Union cohesion funds to compliance with standards regarding the rule of law, Zoltán Kovács, Hungary’s state secretary for international communications, said in a letter to the editor of the Financial Times on Monday.
In his letter, Kovács insisted that “the universities row has never been political”, arguing that being an administrative issue, the 2017 law had aimed to ensure clear and reasonable regulations for foreign universities with operations in Hungary.
According to Kovács, two dozen foreign universities had no problems meeting the new regulations, whereas the CEU had been reluctant to meet its administrative obligations, and its leader had become more and more political.
The state secretary said last week’s European Court of Justice ruling, which said that the Hungarian legislation breached EU law, was strange, considering that several other EU member states, including the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Spain, had similar stipulations for foreign universities.
In the featured photo illustration: state secretary Zoltán Kovács. Photo by Balázs Mohai/MTI