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Bill on foreign owned universities discussed in Parliament

April 4th, 2017

A liberal columnist looks into the options CEU will have after the approval of amendments to the Higher Education Act tabled by the government.

Over the weekend, hundreds of academics inside and outside Hungary expressed their solidarity with CEU. On Saturday, Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said that CEU was one of the most important higher education institutions in Europe. Hungary’s ombudsman for educational rights Lajos Aary-Tamas called the amendment to the Higher Education Law “discriminatory against CEU”. On Sunday, thousands rallied in Budapest and protested against the government’s proposed amendments to the Higher Education Act (see BudaPost March 30). The Undersecretary in charge of education within the Ministry of Human Resources said the bill does not endanger CEU. László Palkovics told Klubrádió that the government is ready to discuss objections to it. He also hinted that the amendments would not impact the status of the university as a recognized Hungarian private higher education institution or the degrees accredited in Hungary. The bill is expected to pass on Tuesday.

On IndexSándor Joób speculates that CEU will have several options if the amendments targeting the university are approved by Parliament. The liberal commentator notes that the government bill may well be struck down by the Hungarian Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights. But CEU could continue its operations in Budapest and comply with the amended Higher Education ActSándor Joób speculates. This, however, would entail that some of its degree programs accredited only in the US are discontinued. Another possibility he identifies is that CEU will leave the country and continue its teaching programmes somewhere else.