Michael Ignatieff-led university 'forced out' of Hungary

Soros-founded university says 'forced out of Budapest'

Hungary's nationalist premier Viktor Orban has a long-running campaign against Soros.

CEU is a graduate institution accredited in the USA and Hungary with 1200 master's and doctoral students in the humanities, social sciences, business, law, cognitive and network science.

This was stated by the rector of CEU, Michael Ignatieff.

"This is unprecedented. A USA institution has been driven out of a country that is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally".

The U.S. government was disappointed that the Hungarian government and CEU failed to reach the agreement that would allow the university to continue its U.S. -accredited programs in Hungary, according to a statement issued by the State Department.

"Arbitrary eviction of a reputable university is a flagrant violation of academic freedom".

Ignatieff told a news conference later that the CEU had received a "clear and unequivocal" welcome in Austria.

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. Critics of the legislation have said it was created to drive the CEU out of Hungary because it represented a bastion of liberal values at odds with the illiberal policies of Mr Orban and his Fidesz party. Orban accuses Soros of encouraging mass immigration into Europe, a charge the philanthropist denies.

While the agreement for CEU to remain in Budapest has to be signed and ratified by Parliament by December 31, the university set a December 1 deadline for its decision on the move to Vienna to still have time to recruit students for the 2019-2020 academic year.

A university funded by George Soros has warned of the "beginning of repression in Hungary" after being "forced out" of the country by the government.

Ignatieff, who spent a turbulent three-year tenure as leader of Canada's federal opposition between 2008 and 2011, said the fate of CEU should serve as a warning sign to all democratic countries including Canada.

However, CEU will keep its Budapest campus and those students who have enrolled there will be able to complete their studies.

It said it also "retains accreditation as a Hungarian university and will seek to continue teaching and research activity in Budapest as long as possible".

Hungarians comprise about 20 percent of the 1,320 students admitted to CEU for the 2018 to 2019 academic year. "It's an ironic and in many ways tragic commentary on what's happened in Central and Eastern Europe".

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