Anti-Orban Protestors Rally For Soros Funded University in Hungary

Apr 12, 2017, 02:49
Anti-Orban Protestors Rally For Soros Funded University in Hungary

Protesters filling Kossuth Square outside Parliament said they want President Janos Ader to veto the legislation.

After days of protests and worldwide criticism, the Hungarian government dispatched its education minister to Brussels to defend a controversial law that critics say would effectively shutter the Central European University, funded by the billionaire financier George Soros. The issue has thrust Budapest back into worldwide headlines, with critics at the very highest levels across the world claiming Orban continues to damage democracy.

"The legislation, we believe, can also similarly threaten operations of other American universities with degree programs in Hungary", Toner told reporters.

After a similar protest a few years ago against a government plan to tax Internet traffic, Orban scrapped the move.

However, Ader - a close confidante of the PM - was unnmoved. Protesters faced a line of police and Index said police used paprika spray on them. "The amendment does not violate the constitution's article ten on the freedom of learning and teaching".

It also calls for binding agreements about the university between Hungary and the United States.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accuses the Hungarian-born Soros of trying to influence Hungarian politics.

The law, rushed through Parliament in less than a week, would require CEU to change its name and open a campus in the United States.

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Some of the requirements, such as carrying out teaching activities in their home countries, are seen specifically targeting the Central European University (CEU), which was set up by Soros in 1991.

Without such consent, the law will ban the university from enrolling new students after January 1, 2018, and force it to close in 2021.

Rawlings sent a letter of support April 5 to Michael Ignatieff, president and rector of CEU, expressing concern about the "efforts by the government of Hungary to undermine CEU's ability to continue to function as a world-leading institution of higher education".

Hoyt said that, while the nature of the law could be debated, "it is going to be much more hard for the university to continue operating in Hungary".

Orban, who faces elections in 2018, is not expected to backtrack on the legislation as it constitutes a major plank of his political strategy defending national interests against what his government calls foreign meddling in Hungarian affairs.

The English-language CEU has 1,800 students from 100 countries and is ranked in the top 50 universities for political and global studies in the World University Rankings list.

George Soros pictured ahead of the start of his five-day-long lecture at the CEU in Budapest.

A law expected to be passed in May would force NGOs getting more than 7.2 million forints ($24,500) a year from overseas to register with authorities.

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