The Central European University, based in Budapest, is on course to become the first European university since 1945 to be closed by the state for ideological reasons. But street protests have erupted—and Orban's reign is increasingly being challengedby JP O' Malley / May 27, 2017 / Leave a comment
On Sunday 9th April, a crowd of 80,000 gathered in the grounds of Buda Castle in central Budapest. Young and old, they came draped in flags and colours of various persuasions. Some proudly held the red, white and green Hungarian tricolour; others were covered in the 12 yellow stars and blue of the European Union. Most carried placards or wore badges with the phrase #istandwithCEU or the Hungarian equivalent, #aCEUvalvagyok.
CEU is the Central European University, a postgraduate institution founded in 1991 by the Hungarian-born American financier George Soros. Located in Budapest, it has an international faculty and student body. The crowd was there to protest against an amendment to higher education legislation that was being fast-tracked through parliament. The amendment bans any university in Hungary from offering foreign-accredited degrees, unless it maintains a campus in the country where it is registered. CEU—registered in New York, but without an American campus—is the only educational institution fitting that description.