Central European University claims it's being forced out of Budapest

Central European University claims it's being forced out of Budapest
By Angela Barnes
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Central European University (CEU) has confirmed that it is moving its U.S.-accredited degree programs from Budapest to Vienna in 2019, after being "forced out".


A George Soros-founded university says it is moving its US-accredited degree programmes to Vienna next year after being "forced out" of Budapest.

Central European University (CEU) status has been in limbo since changes to a higher education law meant a foreign-registered university could no longer operate in Hungary unless it also provided courses in its home country.

Soros, who promotes liberal causes through his charities, has been attacked by nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban. 

“CEU has been forced out,” its president and rector, Michael Ignatieff, said. “This is unprecedented.

"A US institution has been driven out of a country that is a NATO ally. A European institution has been ousted from a member state of the EU."

Read more: CEU has no place in Orbán’s Hungary – but it won’t be the same anywhere else

CEU said the announcement had to be made quickly so that it can recruit students in time for the beginning of the next academic year.

Students already enrolled will complete their studies in Budapest.

"Arbitrary eviction of a reputable university is a flagrant violation of academic freedom. It is a dark day for Europe and a dark day for Hungary," it said in a press release.

CEU retains accreditation as a Hungarian university and will now seek to continue teaching in Budapest for as long as possible.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Leon Botstein, said: “The City of Vienna and the federal government of Austria have welcomed us with open arms as part of their commitment to academic freedom and research.

"Despite our consternation at being forced to leave Budapest, we are excited to offer our students the opportunity to study in another great Central European city,” he said in a statement.

The graduate institution has 1200 master’s and doctoral students in humanities, social sciences, business, law, cognitive, and network science subject areas.

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