Central European University hopes ‘agreement’ with Hungary near

Budapest-based institution says negotiations between Hungary and New York State have created ‘basis for an agreement’

October 3, 2017
A man holds up a sign with the text 'Don't close CEU, Orban in to the jail" as students and teachers of the Central European University protest. Hungary
Source: Getty

The threatened Central European University in Budapest has signed a memorandum of understanding with a US college, a move that it hopes will lead to an agreement with Hungary’s government that allows it to stay in the country.

Negotiations between the Hungarian government and New York State over the CEU’s future in Budapest have now “created the basis for an agreement”, according to a CEU spokeswoman.

Earlier this year, the Hungarian government passed a law that imposed a range of restrictions on overseas universities in the country, including the need to maintain a campus in their home country.

The law was seen as a further move against liberal institutions in Hungary that might oppose the government, and the CEU claimed that it specifically was being targeted.

On 3 October, the CEU said that it had agreed with Bard College to “provide educational activities in New York”.

“We hope that this MOU, which does not preclude future agreements with other New York-based institutions, helps to provide the basis for a speedy conclusion to this affair,” the spokeswoman said.

“We await the Hungarian government’s signature of the agreement and parliament’s ratification in order to enable the CEU to continue operating in Budapest, which has always been our goal,” she added.

However, reports in the Hungarian press quote László Palkovics, the education undersecretary, as saying that the government would not necessarily sign an agreement on the CEU’s future this year because the university’s programmes in the US still needed to be accredited.

david.matthews@timeshighereducation.com

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