Hungary versus George Soros
A controversial, Hungarian law that will effectively close the George Soros-funded Central European University (CEU) has been accepted. Although the Hungarian government denies that the law is aimed particularly at closing the CEU, many interpret it as a direct attack towards the CEU and George Soros.
The CEU was founded in 1991, after the fall of the socialistic bloc. Since then, it has become one of the most prestigious universities in Eastern Europe. The independence of the university, thanks to foreign funding by George Soros, is of worry to the anti-liberal Hungarian government.
The new law asks for universities with foreign funding to also operate in their country of origin. This means that unless the CEU has an operating facility in America before February 2018, the university will be closed. Many deem the measures unjustified, since the CEU is already accredited by the Hungarian government.
This perceived injustice has led to many protests. Universities, professors and even Nobel prize winners from all over the world have expressed their objections against closure of the CEU. An estimated ten thousand people went to protest in Budapest, the home of the CEU, on several occasions.
The battle between the Hungarian government and George Soros is not exactly new. For years, Soros has been investing many of his billions in organizations that plead for open borders for refugees and in human rights organizations. The beliefs of these organizations counter the standpoint of the government, which has taken strong measures against the influx of immigrants, such as building a giant fence on its borders.
Still, the Hungarian government denies that the law is an attempt to hurt Soros directly: “The Hungarian government doesn’t want to close any university — neither Hungarian universities nor any of the universities belonging to Mr. Soros”, education minister László Palkovics claimed in Brussels this week. The statement strongly contradicts an earlier statement of prime minister Viktor Orbán, saying that 2017 will be ‘the year of the expulsion of George Soros and the powers that he symbolizes’.