George Soros’s university says it is being forced out of Hungary

George Soros’s university says it is being forced out of Hungary

Central European University - run by former Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff - has confirmed it will move its USA -accredited degree programs from the Hungarian capital of Budapest to Vienna as of September 2019 after Hungary's government refused to sign an agreement allowing it to stay.

"The departure of these US -accredited programs from Hungary will be a loss for the CEU community, for the United States, and for Hungary", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Ignatieff called it an "unprecedented" act against an American university by a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and against a European university by a member of the European Union.

The university said it would begin teaching all US-accredited programs in a new site in Vienna starting in September 2019.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Leon Botstein, said Vienna and the Austrian federal government had welcomed CEU "with open arms" as part of their commitment to academic freedom and research.

"Since the Hungarian government amended its law on higher education in April 2017, we have worked diligently with both parties to find a solution that would allow CEU to preserve these programs in Hungary", said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement.

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Mr. Soros, who was born in Hungary and now lives in the United States, has been a frequent target for Mr. Orban whose vision for an "illiberal democracy" in Hungary clashes with the liberal, internationalist vision championed by Mr. Soros.

Hungary's renowned Central European University announced on Monday it had been "forced" to move its most prestigious study programmes to Vienna after a long and bitter legal battle with Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government.

Attracting students from over 100 countries and mainly offering US-accredited masters programs, CEU has always been regarded by the nationalist Orban as a hostile bastion of liberalism.

"Despite our consternation at being forced to leave Budapest, we are excited to offer our students the opportunity to study in another great central European city", he said.

He said that "this makes it clear to everybody that the whole affair is nothing else, but the usual political bluff by Soros which the government does not wish to deal with".

Michael Ignatieff, rector of the Central European University gestures during a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, on December 3, 2018. In June, lawmakers approved the "Stop Soros" law, which allows criminal penalties of up to a year in prison for those convicted of aiding asylum-seekers.

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