George Soros’s Central European University is prepared to move out of Hungary after his Open Society Foundations announced Tuesday it was also leaving the country.
President and Rector of CEU Michael Ignatieff said that the university “can’t go into another academic year” if the Hungarian government did not sign a deal in the next few months.
“But I will say that if we get pushed, we will not go quietly, and I think they know that,” the former liberal Canadian politician told The Guardian.
The Hungarian government has maintained that the institution operates as an “offshore university”, offering both Hungarian and the U.S. diplomas despite not having an American campus, and is in violation of education laws.
CEU has since established a base at Bard College in New York State, with a Hungarian government spokesman saying that it was examining papers submitted by the Soros-founded institution but that “This inquiry is more complicated than those with other schools because there was no American mother institution originally.”
In April, Deputy Rector Éva Fodor said that the university had already sought a new location in Austria and that if an agreement was not met by mid-June academics “will start planning to move the entire university to Vienna”.
On Tuesday, Breitbart London reported that Soros’s progressive grantmaking Open Society Foundations is closing its Budapest office and will relocate to Germany in response to the government’s “repressive” crackdown on foreign-funded pressure groups.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s conservative-Christian Fidesz-KDNP coalition won a two-thirds supermajority in parliamentary elections on April 8th, and ran on a patriotic platform of sovereignty, protecting the country’s borders, and stopping intervention from large, foreign NGOs.
Ignatieff was astounded that Orbán, who has stood firm against European Union demands to open Hungary’s borders and accept migrants from the Middle East and Africa, ran on a platform of promises he intends to fulfil.
“I’ve been in politics. You say a lot of things to win elections,” Mr. Ignatieff told the newspaper.
“I genuinely don’t know if this was just to win an election or is there something else. There’s no question this is a government with a very strong point of view. Is this an ideology? Is this a vision? How far are they going to go with that vision?”
The government’s vision for the country appears to be one that will strive to build a “Christian democracy” and protect the country’s borders, as per Mr. Orbán’s speech during his inauguration on May 10th.