November 24, 2019
On Friday, the 15th November 2019, the Central European University (CEU) held the opening ceremony of its campus in Vienna after being forced to leave their campus in Budapest, following a long battle with the Hungarian government. This marks the first time in decades a university has been forced out of a European country. The Central European University has educated more than 17,000 students from more than 100 countries. With its English- language graduate education following the American model, it has long been a thorn in the side of the Hungarian government.
The government insists that denying CEU its right to issue US accreditation is purely an administrative matter. Yet, its way of describing the university as a hostile bastion of liberalism paints a different picture. This is in line with a 2017 law on foreign higher education that seems to be tailored for CEU specifically. Even as the university complied with the strict regulations, the government refused to sign the contract that would give the university the right to stay in the country. Additionally, Hungary’s far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán supported campaigns that depict George Soros, the CEU’s founder and financier, as the mastermind of a plan to destroy Europe with liberal values and increased migration.
As AEGEE, we stand for a democratic, diverse and borderless Europe. We therefore condemn the actions of the Hungarian government specifically targeted to force CEU to leave the country, and call upon the new European Commission to hold the Hungarian government accountable for breaching fundamental EU values.Communications AEGEE-Europe