Michael Ignatieff-led university 'forced out' of Hungary

Soros-founded Budapest university 'forced to move to Vienna'

"This forced move is a blow to academic freedom, which is a fundamental right, and all the more troubling given that Hungary is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union member state", she said.

CEU's ouster is part of populist, anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ideological battle against Hungarian-American financier and CEU founder George Soros and his "open society" model. The university set a December deadline to resolve the dispute in order to give incoming students certainty about where they will be studying next year, but has not yet reached a deal with the government.

The European Court of Justice has not held a hearing, despite the Lex CEU law violating European laws, Ignatieff added, on a "dark day for academic freedom". "We're being driven out of Hungary by a government that is consolidating single-party rule", he said.

"The departure of these US-accredited programmes from Hungary will be a loss for the CEU community, for the United States, and for Hungary", Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the State Department, said in a statement.

In addition, in accordance with the law of the foreign educational institution has to operate not only in Hungary but also in the country where it was established.

Orban's critics say the legal changes deliberately targeted CEU, which is reguarly ranked as the top university in Hungary.

Orban's government has conducted massive billboard and media campaigns against Soros blaming him for Europe's migrant crisis, a charge that Soros denies.

"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 NY, which would ensure CEU's operations in Budapest for the long term", the university writes.

The school said it will continue teaching and research activities in Budapest as long as possible.

Hungary's government dismissed the university's move on Monday as a "Soros-style bluff".

It said it had no choice but to announce the decision because Hungarys ‘Lex CEU, a 2017 amendment to the higher education law that exclusively affects CEU, forbids the university from accepting new students after 1 January, and the switch is therefore necessary to guarantee that it can recruit students in time for the new academic year. Students already enrolled will complete their studies in Budapest.

Hungarians comprise about 20 percent of the 1,320 students admitted to CEU for the 2018 to 2019 academic year.

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