Monday, 17 December, 2018

Soros-backed university in Hungary moves programs to Vienna | AP business

The logo of the Central European University The logo of the Central European University
Pablo Mccormick | 05 December, 2018, 19:23

Central European University confirmed Monday that it will move its US -accredited degree programs from Budapest to Vienna from next September, as Hungary's government is refusing to sign an agreement allowing it to stay.

"In the case of the CEU we are being forced out of the country", said Liviu Matei, the CEU's pro-rector, at a press conference.

Orban has openly targeted Soros, a philanthropist who promotes liberal causes, in his nationalist and anti-immigration reelection campaign.

U.S. State Department said on Monday it was disappointed that Central European University (CEU) could not continue its U.S. -accredited programs in Hungary.

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Some Hungarian-accredited courses will still be taught at the Budapest campus, the university added.

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.

The US State Department issued a statement saying the US government was "disappointed" that no agreement had been concluded between Mr Orban's government and CEU, which has an enrolment of over 1,400 students from 118 countries, as well as almost 400 permanent or visiting faculty.

Despite taking steps to comply with the new rules, the university said the government still did not yield and it needed to take measures in order to recruit new students for the next academic year.

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That date passed without agreement and on Monday the university announced it would begin teaching all its US-accredited programmes at a new site in Vienna as of September 2019.

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.

"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. About 30 Canadians are now at CEU, Mr. Ignatieff said.

George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, attends the annual meeting of the European Council On Foreign Relations, in Paris, France, May 29, 2018.

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In April, Mr Orban won a third consecutive term - and fourth overall - with an electoral programme based on opposing migration. In June, the parliament approved the "Stop Soros" law, which allows criminal penalties of up to a year in prison for those convicted of aiding asylum-seekers.

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