The Hungarian government has dismissed the George Soros-founded Central European University (CEU) announcing a move to Vienna as a “political ploy”.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said the CEU should not be able to issue joint Hungarian and American degrees, claiming that this gives the foreign institution an unfair advantage over local universities.
Under Hungarian law, foreign universities may only issue foreign-accredited degrees if they operate a campus in their home country, which must have a bilateral agreement on mutual recognition with Budapest — which does not appear to be the case with the CEU.
In response, the CEU’s rector and president, Canadian ex-politician Michael Ignatieff, has issued an ultimatum that, unless something changes by December 1st, it will move its operations to Vienna, Austria — but he has received short shrift from the government.
“The announcement by the CEU is a Soros-style political ploy,” a spokesman said in an email sent to Breitbart London.
“The relocation to Vienna of the issuing body for its American degrees is simply part of a political ploy. The Hungarian government does not concern itself with Soros’s political ploys,” the statement adds.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 10, 2018
Elaborating on this in a blog post on the official About Hungary website, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács, explained that the CEU’s Hungarian-registered university, the Közép-európai Egyetem (KEE), remains fully accredited, and sees no reason why it will not continue to operate.
“Technically… the rector’s declaration of an intent to relocate the CEU’s issuing body to Vienna only affects the U.S.-registered CEU and leaves KEE intact,” Kovács wrote.
“Taking that into consideration, one sees that this has nothing to do with ‘academic freedom’— and never has – it’s another wily manoeuvre, a Soros-style political ploy.”