Talks on CEU with NY State being arranged

History

A date for talks between the prime ministerʼs commissioner Kristóf Altusz and the governor of the State of New York on the future of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest is being arranged, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tradeʼs press chief said late Tuesday, as reported by state news wire MTI.  

Last Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared his readiness to enter into discussions with the Hungarian government to continue the relationship with the State of New York that enables the Central European University (CEU) to keep operating in Budapest. Subsequently, the Hungarian government accepted Cuomoʼs invitation to discuss the issue.

Tamás Menczer, press chief at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Altusz is expected to travel to the United States in the second half of June. There he will also meet with the heads of McDaniel College to discuss that schoolʼs future operation in Budapest, he added.   

Talks with the State of New York, where the CEU is chartered, are being scheduled, Menczer said. Negotiating partners for a third school, based in Boston, are being identified, he added.   

Hungarian lawmakers earlier approved controversial amendments to the higher education law that require foreign schools in Hungary to operate on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement. They must also have a campus in the country in which they are chartered.  The CEU, which has a single campus, in Budapest, earlier complained it was specifically targeted by the legislation.   

Leading figures of the Hungarian governing party Fidesz have routinely branded CEU the “Soros university” (after its founder George Soros) in recent communication, having regularly blamed the Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist for the refugee crisis, as well as accusing him of meddling with European politics.

Earlier on Tuesday, CEU Rector Michael Ignatieff welcomed the initiation of talks between the Hungarian government and the government of the State of New York. He expressed hope that a long-term agreement would soon be reached allowing the CEU to remain in Budapest.   

The CEU will conduct all of its activities for the 2017/18 academic year in Budapest, Ignatieff added.

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