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Endangered Scholars Worldwide Statement on Hungary’s Parliament Votes to Shut Down CEU

Updated: Apr 29, 2019


On April 4, 2017, the Hungarian parliament voted in favor of a government plan to regulate foreign-based universities to the degree that might lead to the closure of Central European University (CEU).


As we have previously reported, last week, Zoltán Balog, the Minister of Human Resources, submitted a bill to parliament based on claims of “irregularities” found in the operation of foreign-based universities. While it is not specifically named, it has been widely noted that the legislation seems to target the Central European University.


A total of 123 MPs voted for the bill, widely referred to as Lex CEU, and 38 opposition MPs voted against it.


Starting January 1, 2018, CEU will no longer be permitted to enroll new students in any programs unless an agreement is reached between the United States government, the State of New York, and the Hungarian government by September 2017. In addition, the legislation passed today will force CEU to open a campus in New York State (where it is also accredited) and change its name, and the legislation will also eliminate a waiver that allows academic staff from nonEU nations to work at the university without a work permit.


Hungarian President János Áder has five days to sign the new piece of legislation or to send it back to Parliament with a request for a judicial review from the Constitutional Court.


We at Endangered Scholars Worldwide consider the amendments to Hungary’s law on higher education part of a power play by Prime Minister Viktor Orban against liberal values. The new law is a flagrant and unjust violation of the freedom, autonomy, security, and safety of a prominent European university and more than 2,200 faculty members and students.


The pressing problem is that the ban on admitting new students for 2018 and the drawn-out uncertainty around CEU is effectively a death sentence for any university seeking to attract new students and keep talented researchers and professors.


Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores and condemns the legislation passed by the Hungarian National Assembly today regarding the operation of nonEU universities in Hungary. We call upon all European governments, international organizations, university presidents, the US Department of State, academic and professional associations, and student groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest this injudicious proposition, to call for immediate withdrawal of the law, and to urge President Áder to refuse to sign the bill and send it instead for court review.


ESW urges the officials of the Hungarian government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of autonomy of higher education as specified in international conventions and treaties to which Hungary has long been a signatory.


Please send appeals to the following:


Viktor Orbán

Prime Minister

1357 Budapest, Pf. 6.

Hungary

E-mail: miniszterelnok@me.gov.hu


Zoltán KOVÁCS

International Spokesperson

Tel: +36 1 896 1905

Fax: +36 1 795 0410

Email: intcomm@mk.gov.hu


István Mikola

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

1027 Budapest, Bem rakpart 47.

Hungary

Phone: +36 1 458 1000

Fax: +36 1 212 5918


Rex W. Tillerson

United States Secretary of State

Office of Foreign Missions

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520 USA

Email: OFMInfo@state.gov


Nikki Haley

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations

799 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017 USA


John Bass

Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Turkey

Embassy of the United States

110 Atatürk Blvd. Kavaklıdere, 06100

Ankara, Turkey

Fax: +90 312 467 0019


Kishore Singh

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Email: sreducation@ohchr.org


David Kaye

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and

protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10

Switzerland

Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Email: freedex@ohchr.org


Federica Mogherini

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security

Policy

European Commission

Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200

1049 Brussels

Belgium


Thorbjørn Jagland

Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

France

Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99


Philippe Boillat

Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

France

Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99


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