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CEU controversy seen as a duel between David and Goliath

April 1st, 2017

In the first pro-government reaction to the row over a freshly tabled bill on foreign-based universities operating in Hungary, a right-wing writer wonders if the government will cave in to pressure from what he regards as ‘powerful forces bent on protecting privileged institutions.’

In his Magyar Idők editorial, János Csontos  describes the planned legislation as fair, and being aimed at restoring order in higher education. He thinks it is justified to expect an American university to run courses in the US since it issues American degrees in Hungary. (The bill would require CEU to do so in order to continue its operation in Budapest, apart from its presence being formally stipulated in an inter-governmental agreement.) Csontos suspects political and business interests behind what he calls the ‘serial production’ of US diplomas for high tuition fees. He interprets the current ‘Katyusha artillery fire’ including angry reaction by the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy and by scientific circles as proof that there is more to this matter than just a dispute over higher education. He is certain therefore that the Hungarian government will be put under heavy pressure over the case of CEU: ‘they will defend their privileges until their last drop of blood’. David once managed to defeat Goliath, he concludes, and wonders ‘what slingshots will be worth against Katyushas.’


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