news letter Friends of Hungary Ungarn Heute

Weekly newsletter

Official: CEU to Leave Budapest

2018.12.03.

Because Hungary’s Lex CEU forbids Central European University to accept new students after January 1, 2019, CEU is forced to announce today that it will launch all U.S.-accredited degree programs in Vienna in September 2019, says the university in its press release.

“Over the course of 20 months, CEU has taken all steps to comply with Hungarian legislation, launching educational activities in the U.S. that were certified by U.S. authorities. Nevertheless, the Hungarian government has made it clear it has no intention of signing the agreement that it negotiated over a year ago with the State of New York, which would ensure CEU’s operations in Budapest for the long term,” the university writes.

“CEU has been forced out,” said CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff.

This is unprecedented. A U.S. institution has been driven out of a country that is a NATO ally. A European institution has been ousted from a member state of the EU. “

The government has never even tried to pretend that there were academic grounds for their actions, the university says. They add that the US Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the New York State Education Department and the Hungarian Accreditation Committee have all certified the excellence of CEU’s academic programs.

Arbitrary eviction of a reputable university is a flagrant violation of academic freedom, the statement of CEU says, adding that it is a dark day for Europe and a dark day for Hungary. “The government has done an injustice toward its own citizens – Michael Ignatieff said – the hundreds of Hungarians who work and study at CEU, and thousands of Hungarian alumni and their families.”

The university retains accreditation as a Hungarian university and will seek to continue teaching and research activity in Budapest as long as possible.

CEU is registered in Austria to issue U.S.-accredited degrees. It will welcome all incoming students to its Vienna location in September 2019. Enrolled students will complete their studies in Budapest.

CEU is a graduate institution accredited in the U.S. and Hungary with 1200 master’s and doctoral students in the humanities, social sciences, business, law, cognitive and network science. The university employs 770 staff and faculty and contributes 25 million Euros (8 billion forints) to the Hungarian economy each year in taxes, pension and health contributions, and payments to suppliers. It is Central Europe’s most successful applicant for competitive European Union research grant funding, with more than 19 million Euros awarded for the 2018-2026 period.

Govt spokesman: CEU move to Vienna ‘political bluff’

Hungary’s government spokesman called the Central European University’s Monday announcement to move courses to Vienna “a political bluff”.

The George Soros-founded university will keep several of its courses running in Budapest, István Hollik said in a video message posted on the government’s portal kormany.hu.

He said that “this makes it clear to everybody that the whole affair is nothing else, but the usual political bluff by Soros which the government does not wish to deal with.”

source: CEU’s Press Release, MTI