The University of Central Europe is at risk after Hungary has passed a law preventing universities based abroad from offering degrees. Citizens and EU contest decision.
Hungary is back in the headlines. Another controversial measure by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, plus a protest on the streets. The Hungarian parliament passed an amendment to the Higher Education Act which aims to ban universities and institutes registered abroad from issuing diplomas, making it impossible for one of the most respected universities in Europe – the University of Central Europe or CEU – to continue To train students.
The CEU was inaugurated more than 25 years ago by the American millionaire, born in Hungary, George Soros, as a beacon of freedom in a country that suffered the hardships of fascism and, shortly after, the communist regime.
The Hungarian government advocates a change in the law with the need to eradicate unfair competition, but European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans threatened to move a lawsuit against the Turkish parliament’s decision because “it is essential that European values be maintained”.
Describing the university as a “pearl in the crown” of higher education in Europe, the official said it was important that the institution continues to operate without any problem in the capital of the country, Budapest. “We need to thoroughly examine this new law to ascertain its compatibility with the free movement of people and the freedom to establish institutions and businesses in the EU,” told reporters in Brussels.
The EU should have a report on this before the end of April, and will then decide whether to proceed with a lawsuit.
Since the decision of the parliament was known, more than 50,000 people – the protest organizers speak at 80,000 – took to the streets in Budapest to protest the new measure, which the government is already reassessing after saying that the protests do not They would change the decision made.
The Vice-President of the Commission was also concerned about a decree, which has not yet been approved, which requires Non-Governmental Organizations to declare all the money they receive from foreign donors, which led Amnesty International to remind Russia that this law Is the reincarnation, on European soil, of the “foreign agent” law, for which the country’s critical non-governmental organizations are also obliged to declare their sources of income.
These are only two of the fronts that Hungary has with Europe. The most visible is the one that the Government is blocking against the entry of refugees into the country, and the inhuman conditions in which many refugees wait until their documents are processed. Hungary was forced by the European Union to abandon the policy of detaining refugees who arrived in the country, but in March of this year the Government installed 324 containers at the border, “the transit zones” where the refugees remain surrounded by barbed wire until they can enter in the country. Reports reaching the media speak of “a prison,” “very small spaces,” and UNHCR has warned that the conditions under which people are held in these “centers” can cause psychological damage in the long run.