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Soros-founded university says it has been 'forced out of Budapest'

Soros-founded university says it has been 'forced out of Budapest'”

CEU, founded by Hungarian-American businessman George Soros, said on Monday it was forced to announce that it would launch all USA -accredited degree programs in Vienna in September 2019, according to the official website of CEU.

"This is unprecedented. A United States institution has been driven out of a country that is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally", said Ignatieff.

Founded by the Hungarian-born Soros in 1991 and chartered in the USA state of NY, the CEU says it was the target of a law passed April 2017 that placed tough requirements on foreign universities.

USA billionaire Soros, who promotes liberal causes through his charities, has been locked in a bitter disagreement with Hungary's conservative anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government.

CEU says it has since complied with the law by opening a facility in New York State that USA regulators have confirmed as hosting educational activities.

"Despite our consternation at being forced to leave Budapest, we are excited to offer our students the opportunity to study in another great central European city", he said.

The move is widely seen as part of a wider campaign waged by Budapest in recent years against Soros, 88, who Orban says is orchestrating migration flows.

In addition, in accordance with the law of the foreign educational institution has to operate not only in Hungary but also in the country where it was established.

According to the university, the Hungarian government has "made it clear" it will not sign an agreement it negotiated in 2017 with the State of NY, which would ensure CEU's operations in Budapest for the long term.

Incoming students in CEU's masters and doctoral programs will start studying at the Vienna campus in the 2019-2020 academic year, while students already enrolled may remain in Budapest to complete their degrees.

Michael Ignatieff, the institution's president and rector, said the situation was unprecedented.

"Since the Hungarian government amended its law on higher education in April 2017, we have worked diligently with both parties to find a solution that would allow CEU to preserve these programs in Hungary", said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement.

He said that "this makes it clear to everybody that the whole affair is nothing else, but the usual political bluff by Soros which the government does not wish to deal with".

CEU was founded in 1991 by Hungarian-American philanthropist and financier George Soros, a strong critic of the Orbán government.

Fidesz is Orban's governing party. In June, the parliament approved the "Stop Soros" law, which allows criminal penalties of up to a year in prison for those convicted of aiding asylum-seekers.



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