Timeline of Events

Modifications to the Hungarian Higher Education Act and CEU's Objections

March 28

Legislation on the modification of the Higher Education Law tabled; CEU protests CEU Press Release-ENG
CEU Press Release-HU
Summary of legislative changes and their impact

March 29

CEU Community Forum held See video
CEU Press Conference held See video
CEU Rector meets Secretary of State Laszlo Palkovics CEU Press Release-ENG
CEU Press Release-HU

March 29- onwards

Letters from concerned individuals, inside and outside Hungary, sent to Minister for Human Capacities, Zoltan Balog (by April 3, over 1,000 are submitted) urging Minister Balog to withdraw the legislation IstandwithCEU webpage – statements of support
#aCEUvalvagyok
Support pours in both from within Hungary and internationally IstandwithCEU webpage –  individual statements of support

March 31

Prime Minister Viktor Orban claims CEU has cheated; CEU rejects claims CEU Press Release-ENG
CEU Press Release-HU
Hungarian Accreditation Agency issues statement claiming that KEE is lawfully accredited in Hungary CEU Press Release-ENG
CEU Press Release-HU

April 2

Protest in support of academic freedom in Hungary and CEU is organized by supporters of CEU with approximately 10,000 participants CEU Press Release-ENG

April 3

CEU submits legal memorandum to members of parliament arguing against proposed legislation CEU Release of Memorandum

Lajos Kosa, leader of the Fidesz parliamentary group accuses CEU of being a phantom university; CEU rejects this CEU Press Release-HU

April 4

Petition protesting legislative amendment  is submitted to Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly with over 30,000 signatures from 134 countries CEU Press Release-ENG

Hungarian Parliament accepts the modification of the Higher Education Law; CEU condemns passage CEU Press Release-HU

CEU Press Conference after vote See video

CEU Community Forum held See video

Human chain protest held after Parliamentary decision organized by supporters of CEU and drawing a crowd of approximately 5,000

April 5

CEU sends memorandum to the Hungarian President, Dr. Janos Ader, urging him to refer the legislation to the Constitutional Court CEU Press Release-HU
Summary of Memo-ENG
Short Summary of Memo-ENG
Speaker of the Parliament signs bill and sends to President Ader for signature [President Ader must react within 5 days (by April 10)]

April 6

CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff meeting high level US officials CEU Press Release-ENG

April 9

The day before Hungarian President Janos Ader signed into law the discriminatory amendments to Hungarian higher education law that threaten to shut down CEU, an estimated 80,000 people take to the streets of Budapest to protest.

April 10

Hungarian President Janos Ader signs the amendments to Hungary’s national higher education legislation; it becomes law. CEU strongly disagrees and commits to pursuing all legal remedies. CEU Press Release-Eng

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Yee visited CEU to speak with CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff and students from CEU, ELTE, Andrassy University Budapest and Corvinus University. CEU Press Release-Eng

April 11

Mark C. Toner, Acting Spokesperson of U.S. Department of State urges the Government of Hungary to suspend implementation of the higher education law affecting Central European University. CEU Press Release-Eng

April 12

European Commission’s College of Commissioners discusses Hungary’s Higher Education law, agrees to conduct a thorough legal assessment and decide on next steps in its next infringement cycle. Press Release

CEU calls on Hungarian Government to initiate direct talks Statement

April 13

Community Forum Held ahead of Easter Weekend See video

APril 15-16

Hungarian Prime Minister gives Easter interviews attacking CEU Magyar Ildok
Kossuth Radio

April 16-onwards

Support continues to pour in; Hungarian authors make the 24th Budapest book festival into a demonstration of solidarity, and other Hungarian intellectuals, business people, and sports figures, including several who are or have been aligned with Hungary’s ruling party, Fidesz, speak out in favor of CEU and in defense of democratic freedoms.

April 20

Bipartisan group of 11 senior U.S. Senators calls on Hungary to take action to ensure CEU can remain in Budapest CEU Press Release-Eng

April 25

CEU Rector Michael Ignatieff meets with Ministers of European Parliament Video

APril 26

European Commission concludes the law is not compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and takes legal action against Hungary; announcing infringement proceedings [Hungarian government has one month to respond (by May 27)]

“…the law is not compatible with the fundamental international market freedoms, notably the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment but also with the right of academic freedom, the right to education and the freedom to conduct a business as provided by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as well as with the Union's legal obligations under international trade law.”

EC Statement
CEU Statement

European Parliament debates the situation in Hungary in dialogue with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Videos 15:25 - 17:06

CEU refutes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s statement to the European Parliament CEU Statement

April 27

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls on Hungary to stop implementation of the National Higher Education Act amendments PACE Statement

April 29

European People’s Party (EPP) summons Hungarian PM Orban to leadership; requires Hungary to comply with EC infringement conditions.

“The EPP Presidency sent a clear message to Prime Minister Orbán and his party, Fidesz, that we will not accept that any basic freedoms are restricted or rule of law is disregarded. This includes academic freedom and the autonomy of universities. The EPP wants the CEU to remain open, deadlines suspended and dialogue with the US to begin.”

EPP Statement

May 3

CEU refutes the Hungarian government’s claim that it does not want to close down any Hungarian university and again calls for negotiations.

CEU Press Release EN/HU

May 5

CEU refutes false allegations in a speculative article regarding the University’s research funding, employment, and taxes.

CEU Press Release EN/HU

May 9

Hungarian Academy of Sciences issues resolution in support of CEU.

CEU Alert EN/HU

May 17

On the same day that an Inter-Ministerial Working Group appointed by the Hungarian government tells CEU that it will not negotiate with the University, European Parliament passes a resolution calling for repeal of lex CEU. The EP 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.”

EP Press Release

CEU Press Release EN/HU

May 18

The Hungarian government responds to the EP’s vote by saying that Hungary will not yield to political pressure

HG Statement

CEU refutes inaccurate and defamatory statements made at the Hungarian government’s regular press conference regarding CEU’s position

CEU Press Release EN/HU

May 21

Thousands again marched in Budapest and across Hungary in support of CEU in Budapest, civil society in Hungary, and Hungary in Europe.

CEU Press Release

May 23

US Department of State again urges Hungary to “suspend implementation of its amended higher education law, which places discriminatory, onerous requirements on U.S.-accredited institutions in Hungary and threatens academic freedom and independence.”

USG Statement

May 24

The Hungarian government responds to the US Dept. of State’s May 23 statement, saying it “falls short of an official diplomatic reply” and denying academic freedom is under threat in Hungary.

HG Statement

New York Governor Cuomo announces his readiness to enter into discussions with the Hungarian government.

“This legislation directly contradicts the 2004 Joint Declaration with the State of New York, which supported CEU's goal of achieving Hungarian accreditation while maintaining its status as an accredited American institution. The Government of Hungary has stated publicly that it can only discuss the future of CEU in Hungary with relevant US authorities, which in this case is the State of New York.”

NY Gov Statement

May 25

Hungarian government responds to the European Commission’s infringement proceedings, says it found no issues with lex CEU and will not comply with the requests of the Commission to repeal or modify the law.

May 30

Community Forum and Press Conference. CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff announces that CEU will stay in Budapest in 2017-18, while hoping that the current negotiations will rapidly lead to a long-term solution that allows CEU to remain in Budapest.

CEU Press Release EN/HU

May 31

The Hungarian Constitutional Court sets up an ad-hoc working group to examine lex CEU.