US, EU rebuke Hungary over 'anti-Soros' education law

13 April, 2017, 02:29 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Hungary passes bill targeting Soros

Janos Ader said in a statement to state news agency MTI that he believed the legislation did not infringe academic freedom or worldwide laws.

Many chanted for President Janos Ader to veto the legislation.

The massive turnout has been billed as one of the largest since Orban took power.

Right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose ruling Fidesz party crafted the legislation, is viewed in much of Europe and beyond as an autocrat and a xenophobe who has long viewed the liberal internationalist Soros as an ideological foe.

It aims to "stigmatize" groups and to silence criticism, according to Soros' Open Society Foundations, which has given $400 million since the 1980s to Hungarian civil society groups. Protesters filling Kossuth Square outside Parliament chanted "Don't sign it, Jani", using a Hungarian nickname for Ader's first name.

The message from László Palkovics was clear: Our legislation is in line with that of other European Union countries and doesn't unfairly target the noted university.

Amendments to Hungary's higher education law approved this week could force it to close or move.

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The Central European University (CEU) represents everything the current Hungarian government sees as a threat: critical thinking, liberal values, and academic freedom. The law demands that foreign universities in Hungary also have a campus in their home countries. "The autonomy of universities, whether it's in Hungary registered, working university, foreign university, it is stated in the constitution that university autonomy should not be. can not be hurt: So the government has no such target". It now has approximately 1,400 students and 370 faculty members from more than 130 countries and regions.

For the Soros-founded Central European University, Hungary is demanding bilateral agreements with the United States and the state of NY, where the school is also accredited.

"The United States is concerned by this legislation ... because it targets (CEU) very clearly and threatens ... this important American Hungarian institution", U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Hoyt Yee, said in Budapest.

New rules introduced by the government mean the Central European University (CEU) would be unable to award diplomas because it is registered in the US.

Embassy Charge d' Affaires David Kostelancik also said that Washington will continue to advocate for CEU's "unhindered operation in Hungary". Yee is also expected to meet with authorities from the university.

The top USA diplomat in the region said the impact of the legislation on the Central European University (CEU) was a concern, while the European Union's executive Commission said it would be the subject of a debate on Wednesday.

"The final debate is about the migration question", Lajos Kosa, parliamentary leader of Orban's Fidesz party, said on broadcaster TV2.

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