Attack on the CEU in Hungary - Attack only on academic freedom?

In 2014, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has declared to build an “illiberal state” in Hungary, while constantly referring to leaders like Vladimir Putin in Russia or Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey as examples. This has been seen by many as a gradual march toward authoritarianism. While this – and many other policies – have been heavily criticized by many ever since, these have gained a new momentum with the prime minister and his circles turning against the Central European University.

The proposal for the amendment on the law on higher education has been introduced on March 28, 2017 to the Hungarian Parliament and adopted on 4 April. Aiming to “provide guarantees to quality of higher education”, it has contained new, seemingly arbitrary criteria that has to be met by all foreign higher education institutions, but some of which obviously fundamentally affecting only the CEU.

Nevertheless, this amendment was adopted under the markedly obscure circumstances. Resorting to an urgent procedure was not at all necessary, especially because there was no substantial reason for doing so. But what is even more striking, is the official letter of the deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, dated 3 April 2017, Budapest, in which he requested the aforementioned urgency. The date and the location are indeed important, taking into the consideration that at the same time, Zsolt Semjén was on an official visit to Iran. Validity of the whole legislative process is therefore, at least, questionable. But what are the implications of all this? And is there still a possibility to save the CEU?

You cand find out more information in the reflection.