CEU Welcomes European Parliament Call to Repeal Lex CEU; Calls Again For Negotiations
Budapest, May 17, 2017 – Central European University (CEU) welcomes the resolution passed by a majority in the European Parliament calling for repeal of Lex CEU. An amendment further calls on the government “to immediately suspend all deadlines in the act amending the National Higher Education Act, to start immediate dialogue with the relevant US authorities in order to guarantee the future operations of the CEU issuing US-accredited degrees and to make a public commitment that the university can remain in Budapest as a free institution.”
CEU calls on the Hungarian government to listen to the unequivocal voice of its European partners and initiate negotiations.
Unfortunately, in a meeting this morning, Hungarian government representatives notified CEU that its inter-ministerial working group has no mandate to negotiate anything. Representatives could not answer the questions CEU raised as to how the conditions of Lex CEU could be satisfied. They informed us that their designated negotiator, Kristof Altusz, will only talk to U.S. authorities.
Five weeks after Hungarian President Janos Ader called on the government to sit down with CEU for good faith discussions, CEU calls on the government, once again, to bring this intolerable situation to a conclusion.
“Holding a university, its 1440 students and 980 staff and faculty hostage for political goals is completely unacceptable,” said President and Rector Michael Ignatieff. “It is time for the Hungarian government to listen to the clear messages coming from the European Parliament and European Commission as well as governments, universities, unions, research institutes, and thousands of individual supporters in Budapest and worldwide.”
Time is of the essence. Under the new law, CEU’s license to operate can be withdrawn any time after October 11, 2017. After January 1, 2018, we can continue to teach and graduate the students already enrolled, but we cannot accept any new students.
Lex CEU is an unacceptable infringement of our academic freedom, exacerbated by unrealistic deadlines. If the law is not repealed or modified, we cannot continue to operate in the city that is our home.