Thousands rally in support of CEU University in Budapest

Article published on April 3, 2017
Article published on April 3, 2017

Thousands of Hungarian students and academics rallied in Budapest on Sunday, demanding the government withdraw legislation that could force a university founded by financier George Soros to shut down. 

EU accepts democracy deficit without a whimper - Die Wielt, Germany 

The EU is being far too lenient with Hungary, Die Welt criticises:

“Brussels can't find a way to counter the Hungarian prime minister's legalist tricks. ... The EU even put up with Orbán introducing press censorship in 2011, right at the start of the Hungarian EU Council presidency. In the EU, budget deficits are punished but democratic deficits are accepted without protest. The Brexit has driven the Brussels bureaucrats to start thinking about punishments for 'perfidious Albion', and there is no shortage of indignation at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But the EU's outrage at the dismantling of democracy in its midst is limited. Faced with the autocrat Orbán it timidly evokes the values that supposedly hold Europe together. Enough is enough. Values that are merely evoked but not fought for aren't worth anything.” (01/04/2017)

Systematic attacks on universities - HVG, Hungary

The action being taken against the CEU is just a continuation of a campaign launched by the Orbán government long ago against what it considers the odious humanistic university system, the liberal weekly paper Hvg points out: 

“These gangsters have already robbed the state universities of their autonomy, now they want to topple the last academic bastion, the CEU. ... Unimpeded academic work and teaching have always been a rarity in Hungary, above all in subjects that have to do with topics of high social relevance. Those branches of the social sciences which on the one hand deal with the problems arising in connection with the refugee crisis and on the other hand provide orientation regarding the cohabitation of different cultures - for example cultural anthropology or intercultural psychology - have been systematically cut back. To say nothing of journalism. That's why all we have today is the same old state-censored mishmash” (30/03/2017)

Hungary will pay dearly - Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

The Hungarian government's attacks on the renowned CEU are yet another scandalous move, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:

“It's almost as if the government in Budapest were deliberately aiming to provoke outrage with its attacks against refugees, aid organisations, foreign universities and the country's international community just so that Victor Orbán can show the world: I'll pick a fight with absolutely anyone. Last week he struck fear into the hearts of the non-government organisations - an attack against civil society. This week began with another broken taboo when the Convention on Human Rights was called into question - an attack against the EU. And on Wednesday the long anticipated attack against the CEU began, the Central European University, which is funded by Orbán's favourite enemy George Soros. … But perhaps this time Orbán has gone too far. He may be hoping that the anti-liberal US President Donald Trump will back him. But Hungary will pay a high price for an attack against such a renowned member of the academic world” (29/03/2017)

Parallels with the 1930s - Die Presse, Austria

As in the 1930s, liberal ideas are once again pitched against a model that views minorities and cosmopolitan elites with animosity, warns author and historian Ian Buruma in Die Presse:

“Indeed, Soros might be described as the personification of 'the West'. ... He is everything that nativists and anti-Semites hate: rich, cosmopolitan, Jewish, and a liberal dedicated to what Karl Popper, yet another child of Jewish origin from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, called 'the open society.' When the enemies of the open society were threatening Europe during the 1930s, there was at least a powerful counter model in Britain, and especially the US. ... Victims of continental European totalitarianism could still find refuge in that 'West,' and even those who couldn't still knew that fascists and Nazis had formidable enemies in London and Washington. We now live in a very different world” (31/03/2017)

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