Soros's uni leaving Budapest: Hungary's loss?
The Central European University (CEU), established by George Soros, will move a large part of its campus from Budapest to Vienna in the coming academic year. A new law prohibits the private university from awarding US diplomas. The Orbán government has also refused to sign an agreement with the State of New York that would have made it possible for the university to continue operating in the Hungarian capital.
A disruptive element for a nationalistic regime
Gábor Miklósi, deputy editor of Index, gives his take on why the CEU is a thorn in Viktor Orbán's side:
“The CEU is unwelcome because it is a self-financed private university and therefore the government can't influence who teaches or what they teach there. At the same time in international lists the CEU is by far Hungary's highest-ranking university. Viktor Orbán doesn't like anyone who doesn't depend on him or dares to criticise him or get in his way. ... A university that seeks the scientific truth, sees open debate as vital and has Hungarian students and teachers is a disruptive, alien element for an isolationist nationalistic regime.”
CEU a world champion in bluffing
All the fuss over the CEU is exaggerated, writes the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap:
“According to the Washington Post the US ambassador to Hungary, David Cornstein, also minimised the CEU's importance. ... He said he couldn't understand why such a fuss was being made over the issue. Mr Cornstein knows the answer, of course. It's not its dimensions that make the CEU 'great' but its networking and lobby work. The CEU is a world champion in bluffing. That's why it's at the top of the publication lists and various rankings, that's why its graduates are in high demand, and that's why the media is proclaiming how lucky the Viennese are that the CEU is moving there.”