Soros University: European justice condemns Hungary

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Brussels | Hungary, at daggers drawn with Brussels on the rule of law, was condemned Tuesday by European justice for its law on foreign universities which forced the Central European University founded by George Soros to move most of its activities in Vienna.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled discriminatory the demands imposed by Budapest on the Central European University (CEU) founded by the American financier of Hungarian origin and on other foreign universities. She asked Hungary to respect European rules.

Luxembourg judges followed the opinion delivered by the Advocate General in early March. The conditions introduced by Hungary to allow foreign higher education establishments to carry out their activities on its territory are “incompatible with Union law”, the court said in a statement.

The Central European University (CEU) founded by George Soros, bête noire of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, moved in November 2019 most of its activities to the Austrian capital due to new legislation obliging foreign universities established in Hungary to have a campus and courses in their country of origin.

The law also requires the conclusion of an international convention with the State of origin of the establishment. The CEU was founded under the laws of the State of New York.

The requirements of the new Hungarian legislation clash with the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union relating to academic freedom, the freedom to establish higher education institutions and the freedom to conduct business, argues the Court in his decision.

Accused by Europeans of violating the rule of law, Viktor Orban’s government regularly finds itself in the spotlight.

The European Parliament has accused Budapest of a “serious violation” of EU values ​​and activated a procedure under Article 7 of the Union Treaty, which can in theory lead to sanctions.

The first report on respect for the rule of law in EU countries presented at the end of September by the European Commission proved to be very critical for Hungary and Poland, two countries where the consequences of justice reforms are provoking. of “serious concerns”.

Member States have approved a mechanism to make the payment of European funds conditional on respect for the rule of law, a first in the EU. Hungary and Poland voted against.

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