The Parliament passed the Act on Higher Education in 2017, which set a condition for the continued Budapest operation of the prestigious university; the new law required CEU to have a headquarters in the United States that offered its own courses. CEU complied, as they established their US base and soon started a joint masters programme with Bard College, as the registrar New York State Education Department certified it for the Hungarian government. Even so, the government did not budge and is not willing to accept this. Late October CEU announced their plan to move to Vienna if until December the government will still not have signed the agreement with the State of New York that is necessary for CEU to continue their operation.
As Orbán put it, it is difficult to see clearly, since
"the case of the Soros-university is a long-running issue of Hungarian politics. There is constant hysteria surrounding them ever since they opened."
This remark somewhat contradicts a statement Minister of Innovation László Palkovics made a few days ago according to which there is no such thing as the CEU-case and also goes against János Lázár, another prominent figure of Fidesz, who said there was no feud between the Fidesz government and CEU until Soros announced his "program to open Europe's borders."
Orbán said that the Hungarian people know little about this small university that only has 1700 students, most of whom are foreigners. The Prime Minister stressed that the law equally applies to everyone, nobody is above the law and the university's threat of leaving Budapest for Vienna is a mere bluff,
"I'd place a large bet on CEU reappearing in Budapest"
the Prime Minister said, and added: "the law speaks clearly."
Orbán also talked about the European People's Party. He thinks the party is not yet ready for next year's EP election, but important steps were taken at the EPP Congress this week to "dig in, not fall back, and make an advance in the campaign."
He mentioned Hungary's connections to China as well, stating Hungary's value is going up for two main reasons. On the one hand, governments in Europe with stable backgrounds seem to be few and far between, therefore Hungary's political stability is a precious commodity. On the other hand, growth in Central Europe is actually higher than the EU average and the "general consensus amongst experts" is that the region will become the driving force behind the EU's growth. China sees that.
Orbán said the cooperation has just started between China, whose growth exceeds the global average, and Central Europe, whose growth exceeds the European average.
The Prime Minister also opined on the UN Global Migration Pact saying it is bad and it can not be supported and it could get bad processes to start, then went on to say
"I am usually in favor of international agreements. in most cases, they are really useful."
(Cover photo: Szigetváry Zsolt / MTI)
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