Budapest, Hungary – Hungary’s Central European University, a graduate school founded by George Soros, said it was being forced out of the country by the nationalist government and that it would move to Vienna next year if it did not get guarantees of academic freedom by Dec. 1.
“We cannot operate legally in Hungary as a free, U.S. accredited institution. We are being forced out of a country that has been our home for 26 years,” announced CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff at a news conference last week.
According to Reuters, such a move would deepen a rift between Orban and the European Commission, which has challenged his higher education reforms in the European Court of Justice.
This is not the first time Soros has been the subject of a campaign by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who regularly accuses the Hungarian-born Soros of plotting to destroy European civilization by flooding the continent with immigrants. Earlier this year, his Open Society Foundations was already forced to leave the country.
Frequently ranked as the top university in Hungary, the CEU offers graduate-level courses taught in English. A change last year to Hungary’s national law on education which withdrew the right to operate from foreign-registered universities that did not also offer courses in their home country was widely seen as explicitly targeting CEU.