CEU's Response to the Judgement of the European Court of Justice

October 6, 2020

Today’s judgement from European Court of Justice in Commission v Hungary (C-66/18) related to the Hungarian law amending the 2017 Law on higher education known as “Lex CEU” is a vindication of CEU’s battle to defend academic freedom and the rule of law.

The case resulted in a landmark decision that strengthens legal protections for free institutions across Europe.  The Court agreed with the European Commission that Hungary has breached WTO law, EU law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union “relating to academic freedom, the freedom to found higher education institutions and the freedom to conduct a business.”

Today’s decision means that Lex CEU is no longer applicable. CEU is free to operate its US degree programs in Budapest. It is also an important moral and legal victory as well as a historic victory for academic freedom in Europe. 

We hope that the Hungarian government will take the opportunity to reverse course and restore the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of the research institutes of the Academy of Sciences and other universities in Hungary, such as the University of Theatre and Film Arts.

Speakers of the Press Conference:

Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector

Liviu Matei, Pro-Rector
Eva Fodor, Co-Director of the CEU Democracy Institute
Ulrike Plettenbacher, Director of Austrian Affairs

About CEU:

CEU offers a uniquely international atmosphere of academic excellence, critical reflection, and social engagement. 

CEU students come from over 90 countries and our faculty from 50. The university stresses both academic excellence and public policy relevance of its teaching and research. Our focus is on understanding and addressing the key issues of the 21st century, from climate change to democratic governance and from international security to deeper understanding of history and philosophy. 

CEU and all its degree programs are registered and accredited in the US. The University and an increasing number of its programs are also accredited in Austria and Hungary. In addition, several CEU degrees are awarded jointly with other leading European universities.