The Soros university controversy

The Hungarian Education Office prepares a regular review about the higher education institutions in Hungary. The latest review has revealed problems in 27 of the 28 foreign universities operating in Hungary, regarding their operational licences and course accreditations as well as problems with their cooperation with the state.  The American McDaniel College, which defines itself as a liberal institution, was the only foreign university which was fully cleared.

Based on these findings, the Hungarian human resources ministry submitted an amendment to the higher education law this Tuesday evening. The proposal includes that  foreign universities in Hungary could operate only under an international agreement to be concluded between the university’s home country and the Hungarian state. 

On the very next day, on Wednesday, the global media (Reuters, BBC, Washington Post, etc.) was full of articles like this one in the Guardian  They were all bashing Hungary hard for “attacking academic freedom” and what have you.  All the articles were really wailing only because of CEU (Central European University), a private university founded and paid by billionaire George Soros, the mastermind behind Europe’s flooding with illegal migrants.

Incidentally this quote from The Guardian made me giggle:

The university’s departure would deal a serious blow to higher education in Hungary and the country’s reputation as a regional leader.

The left-liberals have been telling us for ages what an unimportant and side-lined country Hungary has become since 2010 (when Orbán took office)…

The liberal mayor of Vilnius (Latvia’s capital) released a much publicized public letter on Wednesday morning, stating that they’d be happy to host CEU.  (Please, do so!)

usempbceuThe USA embassy in Budapest was up in arms immediately as well and they issued this statement:

Together with some Democrat politicians in the USA, the American president of CEU issued threats regarding “the relations between the USA and Hungary”.   President Michael Ignatieff also insisted on his Wednesday press conference that “CEU complies with regulations and these issues must be discussed in talks”

Today the State Department of the USA has also issued a statement:

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.

I wonder if President Trump is concerned about Soros’ university, too?

Prime Minister Orbán has responded to the hysteria briefly this morning in his regular fortnightly radio interview: “even if you’re a billionaire, you’re not above the law”. Whether CEU could operate in Hungary in the future would depend on talks between the USA and Hungary and on a future agreement between the two countries.  Answering a question whether negotiations would be held with the CEU, he said that “all the CEU has to do is to comply with the law.  We’re not going to have talks with them because they are not the US government even if that’s what they might want to be”

ceu

The Business School of George Soros’ Central European University

Well, I certainly keep my fingers crossed that CEU will not provide courses in “gender studies” in Budapest soon.  The Soros network must be driven out of Hungary as soon as possible.

Update:  Response of the Government of Hungary to the press statement of the Department of State of the United States of America

The Government of Hungary found it with surprise that the Department of State of the United States released a press statement that is based on factual errors.

Hungary is a sovereign country which formulates its external relations in the spirit of mutual respect, goodwill and with the aspiration to reach compromise. According to our intentions, non-EU universities may operate in our country only if Hungary has entered into an inter-state agreement with the country of origin for the university. Accordingly, the Government of Hungary is ready to engage in talks with the Government of the United States with respect to György Soros’s university in Hungary.

Update on the 4th of April:   With the vote of every and each gov’t MP, Hungary’s parliament has passed the fast-tracked amendment to the education law today.

Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States to Budapest David Kostelancik has issued the following statement:

The United States is disappointed by the accelerated passage of legislation targeting Central European University, despite the serious concerns raised by the United States, by hundreds of local and international organizations and institutions, and by thousands of Hungarians who value academic freedom and the many important contributions by Central European University to Hungary.

The Central European University is a successful and prestigious American-Hungarian institution and has been an important component of the U.S.-Hungarian relationship for 26 years. The United States will continue to advocate for its independence and unhindered operation in Hungary.

Deputy Secretary State Kristóf Altusz of Hungary’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has summoned Mr. Kostelancik (and  Germany’s Chargé d’Affaires) tomorrow morning in response.

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