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CEU decided to move to Vienna

Until December 1st, the university administration had set a deadline for the government to sign an international agreement guaranteeing CEU operations in Budapest. The decision to leave was not formally confirmed by the institution at that time, but an international press conference was announced for the afternoon of December 2nd. The government responded to RTL’s question by stating that they are not dealing with the university’s ultimatums. On the following Saturday, there were demonstrations at the CEU and protesters at Kossuth Square in Budapest symbolically buried the freedom of education.

On March 28, 2017, the government submitted an amendment to Parliament of the Higher Education Law. Though it would filter out foreign universities providing fake diplomas, it would make the operation of CEU, founded by George Soros, in Hungary impossible. The proposal requires two new conditions for the operation of CEU in Hungary: it has to have a campus in the US and it has to establish an intergovernmental agreement between the State of New York and Hungary which defines its activities.
 Thousands of leading economists, scholars, university profile political parties and 15 Nobel Prize winners have expressed opposition to the bill. Besides the US Embassy in Budapest, the US State Department also defended the university. On April 4, 2017, the parliament voted and passed the law urgently and the compliance deadlines were even shortened. On April 9, 2017, tens of thousands of people protested against the passing of the law. On April 26, 2017, the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary, as the amendment may limit the EU principle and right, for the freedom to provision services. It was announced in October 2017 that CEU can carry out educational activities at the Bard College campus in New York, which can be used to meet the new requirements of the modified Education Law. On October 13, 2017, László Trócsányi, Minister of Justice, said that the law would be amended, so that CEU could receive a one-year extension to meet the new conditions.

The City of Vienna signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CEU on the establishment of a campus, wrote the APA Austrian News Agency. According to the announcement of the Vienna City Hall, the document expects the private university founded by George Soros to rent a historic building for 99 years. The CEU also promised to protect the building. After the signature, the memorandum of understanding will be submitted to the Cultural, Scientific and Sports Committee of the Vienna Municipality.
 According to the statement, by the end of September, Vienna would conclude a lease with CEU, which would start operating in the Austrian capital in the academic year 2022-23. Also included in the plans is an intermediate solution that would allow the institution to open its doors in the autumn of 2019.

Based on the articles  by:,

Written by: Kristof Kocs

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