Major protest in Hungary over university law

Posted April 13, 2017

Advocates for CEU say the proposal is aimed at the university and is part of a larger effort by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to disparage Soros and dismantle institutions and policies that promote immigration and multiculturalism in Europe.

"The government does not close down any universities and does not close down CEU either ..."

FILE - Hungarian-born US billionaire and investor George Soros is seen ahead of a lecture at the Central European University (CEU), founded by him, in Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 26, 2009. Universities will also be required to have a campus and faculties in their home country - although registered in the United States, the CEU does not have a campus there.

Hungarian President Janos Ader signed the highly contentious legal amendment that has become knows as the "lex CEU" on April 10. It now has approximately 1,400 students and 370 faculty members from more than 130 countries and regions. Orban says CEU is "cheating" by issuing two diplomas, giving it an unfair advantage over other local universities.

Ader also called on the government to "immediately" begin talks with the affected institutions to secure compliance with the new rules.

People protest againts the bill that would undermine Central European University, a liberal graduate school of social sciences founded by USA financier George Soros in Budapest, Hungary, April 9, 2017.

"It's noteworthy that all of the other institutions have accepted this modest minimal condition of university equality and fairness".

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"These people at the top, they don't realise that we don't live in Russian Federation, but in Hungary!" a protester, 23-year-old IT expert Viktor Szakal, told the AFP news agency. I'm glad that so many people showed up.

The legislation has attracted widespread criticism overseas, including from Washington, Brussels and academics.

Orban, an early supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, has said repeatedly he expects an end to frequent U.S. criticism in earlier years of Orban's weakening of the democratic system of checks and balances, the rule of law and increased control over the media and the courts.

"The government is always looking for someone to fight with, and Soros seems like the ideal person for this, because he funds NGOs in Hungary and he funds CEU as well", Klopfstein said.

The newspaper's shutdown came just weeks after it published reports alleging widespread corruption within Orban's ruling party, including close allies of the prime minister.

Yee said "the United States does not engage in such agreements about. how universities are going to be run in foreign countries".

Last week, the government submitted a draft anti-NGO law, requiring groups receiving more than US$25,000 annually to register with authorities, itemize all financial transactions, and state publicly that they are foreign funded under Hungarian law.