The conservative government of Victor Orban has proposed a new draft law which aims to enforce a strict control over foreign-funded universities in Hungary.
The proposed bill would tighten regulations on non-European Union institutions issuing diplomas in Hungary.
The Central European University (CEU), one of the largest institutions of its kind in Central Europe, that was founded by billionaire of Hungarian origins, George Soros, interprets the new law as an attempt of Orban’s government to force it out of the country.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban, has openly accused Soros of trying to undermine his country and vowed to throw out Soros funded NGO’s.
CEU University rector and president Michael Ignatieff said that: “You can’t run a free university anywhere in Europe unless it has the freedom to teach, the freedom to hire, the freedom to choose the students. And this bill imposes government restrictions on all of those.”
“We will never close this university, we will maintain the continuity of our academic programs no matter what. […] This is our home”, he added.
The Central European University has an alumni of 14,000 students from 117 countries and is specialized in human and social sciences.
Hungarian government officials have stated that foreign universities cannot mislead their students, and that they have to operate according to Hungarian law.
“It is all just hysteria. Moreover it’s sometimes political hysteria in our point of view. Foreign universities cannot mislead their students, they cannot abuse their situation, and if they are operating in Hungary, they have to do it according to Hungarian laws”, Janos Lazar, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office told Euronews, in response to student protests against the legislation.
Under Orban’s government, Hungary has imposed strict measures to limit immigration, limited the influence of foreign banks and media, and deepened economic cooperation with Russia.
Orban has openly criticized the EU, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her migrant policies. Mainstream media in Europe and the US characterized Orban’s measures as a ‘crackdown on free expression’.
Orban has dismissed the allegations.