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‘Productive’ negotiations begin on CEU’s future

Officials of the Hungarian government and the State of New York have started negotiations on the further operation of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, according to a statement issued Friday by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The CEU welcomed the launch of the talks.

“Today we held productive negotiations with representatives of the Hungarian government on the status of the Central European University, a world-class institution that is accredited in New York State,” Cuomo wrote in the statement.

“We met to discuss a new law that threatens CEU’s continued presence in Hungary and the urgent need to preserve academic freedom. We made good progress in talks with Kristóf Altusz, Deputy State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” the statement said, adding that “we look forward to a speedy resolution that safeguards the integrity of CEU and its vital educational mission.”

Shortly after the announcement, CEU welcomed the progress heralded by the beginning of talks to resolve the issue, triggered by the recent passing of an amendment to Hungaryʼs higher education law that sets new conditions for the operation of foreign-funded institutions in Hungary.  The legislation has been widely condemned by academics at home and abroad, as well as by the European Commission and U.S. government, and prompted mass demonstrations in support of CEU in Budapest.

“CEU welcomes the statement from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo calling yesterdayʼs discussions with Kristóf Altusz, Hungarian Deputy State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, productive,” reads a statement CEU sent to the Budapest Business Journal. “CEU is not a participant in the negotiations, but we hope they lead to a solution that enables CEU to remain in Budapest as a free institution,” the statement added.