CEU progress report

Via George Szirtes:

Mixed progress. Hungarian government intransigent.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This has been a week of disappointment and promise. The chief disappointment was this week’s meeting with the Hungarian inter-ministerial working group, the first official face-to-face encounter with the government side since the passage of lex CEU. We came to the meeting hoping that the government would begin talks, but the government side made it clear that they will not negotiate with CEU. They also were unwilling to answer the simplest questions about the law’s operation following the first deadline for compliance on October 11. While we are always willing to talk to the government, further meetings of this kind are pointless. After the meeting, CEU called on the government, once again, to stop holding our 1,440 students and 980 faculty and staff hostage for political purposes, and bring this situation to a conclusion (see our May 17 press release).

The element of promise came from Brussels. On the same day as our meeting with government officials, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for the repeal of lex CEU. We at CEU now await the government’s response, expected at the end of next week, to the European Commission’s finding that lex CEU violates European law. We are also awaiting the Hungarian Constitutional Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the law.

Meanwhile, the vital work of the university goes on. Our public outreach lecture series, Rethinking Open Society, will feature talks this month by renowned historian Niall Ferguson (Monday, May 22) and distinguished author Robert Kaplan (May 31), among several others. On May 26, Hungarian universities and educational organizations will hold a Teach-In at CEU to bring academics and educational professionals into dialogue around rethinking the role of universities.

We look forward to seeing students, staff, and faculty at the annual CEU Picnic on Saturday May 20.

Finally, as many of you know, there will be a demonstration on Sunday May 21, 5:30-8:30pm in favor of Europe, academic freedom, and freedom of association. As always, the university does not endorse or associate itself with any public demonstration, but faculty, staff, and students are, of course, free to take part or not, as they wish.

We are grateful for your strength and encouragement, and given this week’s developments, we need your continued support more than ever. #istandwithCEU / #aCEUvalvagyok

Best regards,

Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector
Liviu Matei, Provost and Pro-Rector

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