Central European University in Viktor Orbán’s crosshairs

It was on February 11 that I wrote a post titled “Viktor Orbán’s next target: Central European University in Budapest.” What prompted my post was an article “Can the Soros-School Stay?” that appeared in Figyelő, a once respectable financial paper acquired by Mária Schmidt, Viktor Orbán’s adviser on matters of history. This opening salvo was followed by at least four articles in Magyar Idők, the semi-official paper of the Orbán government, all aimed at discrediting the university. It seemed that the government had decided that the time was ripe to do what it had been contemplating for quite a while: get rid of CEU once and for all. I ended my post with these words: “What happens to CEU may depend, at least in part, on how successful Donald Trump is at implementing his plans at home and abroad. If he moves American democracy toward an illiberal state and if his followers keep bashing Soros, most likely Viktor Orbán will feel free to banish CEU from Hungary. But if he fails because of internal opposition and foreign resistance, perhaps these attacks will subside. Let’s hope so.”

Obviously, Viktor Orbán thinks that Donald Trump is doing splendidly and that his own move against George Soros, who after all supported Hillary Clinton, and Soros’s Budapest university is not only timely but has every promise of success. Well, Trump isn’t doing so splendidly, and bashing Soros wouldn’t do much to move the needle on his 35% approval rating. But, as the Hungarian government has formulated its proposed legislation against CEU, that’s really not the problem. What the Orbán government is demanding for the continued existence of CEU cannot be satisfied. Washington has nothing to do with a university accredited in the State of New York.

I don’t know, of course, what was in Orbán’s head when, in the middle of the night, the amendments to the Law on Higher Education were posted on the website of the Hungarian Parliament. I assume he hoped, at the very least, that there would be no response from a more sympathetic United States government. But he was wrong. The U.S. Embassy in Budapest released a strongly worded statement:

The United States is very concerned about the legislation proposed by the Hungarian Government yesterday that would severely impact the operations of the Central European University in Budapest…. The University is an important success story in the U.S.-Hungarian relationship, and it enjoys strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Government. The United States opposes any effort to compromise the operations or independence of the University.

Such a statement cannot be issued without the approval of the State Department.

I should add that if the Hungarian government wants to negotiate with the U.S., it will have to negotiate not with the Secretary of Education but with the governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat. Moreover, George Pataki, the former Republican governor of the state, is on the board of trustees of CEU. All in all, Orbán will have a hard time realizing his plans.

Large crowd at Michael Ignatieff’s press conference

This afternoon Michal Ignatieff gave a press conference which was attended by hundreds, including diplomats of the U.S., Canadian, German, Swedish, Dutch, and Romanian embassies. I am personally grateful to the Romanians, the only country from the region, for standing up for the academic freedom of a U.S.-Hungarian university.

Ignatieff, who is a very measured man, was visibly angry. He announced that Viktor Orbán is mistaken if he thinks that there will be a Trump-Orbán summit about the fate of CEU because he will be the one who will negotiate about the future of his university. He added that earlier the university’s administration demanded only the withdrawal of the amendments but now, after the Hungarian state violated their trust, they expect a new bilateral agreement that will guarantee the independence of the university. Earlier, in an interview he revealed that the university “plans to show [the Hungarian government] over the next week or so that messing with us comes with costs.” The university administration also announced that it is contemplating legal action against Origo, the latest acquisition of the government’s propaganda machine, because of the internet site’s falsification of facts in connection with the operation of CEU.

As far as the Hungarian government is concerned, the usual double talk reigns. László Palkovics, undersecretary in charge of education, whose rapid-fire explanations are hard to follow, tried to convince his audience at a press conference this morning that the amendments to the law on higher education have nothing to do with CEU. It is just one of the 28 foreign universities that operate in Hungary. It apparently took about 20 questions from journalists before he admitted that CEU is the only institution among the 28 that has no campus abroad and thus cannot operate in the future.

Szilárd Németh, one of Viktor Orbán’s deputies in Fidesz, usually gets the nastiest messages to deliver. In this case, he was surprised that this whole case caused such an altercation. It is just a routine affair: there are many universities that don’t function as working universities abroad, and this is considered to be fraud by Hungarian law. He sanctimoniously announced that “all educational enterprises must obey the laws of the country.” What he forgot to add was that this law hasn’t been enacted yet. He announced that this is “not a Soros problem” yet said that “all of those [in the Hungarian parliament] who rose to defend the Soros university made it clear that they actually serve the interests of George Soros.”

The university had important defenders. The slavishly servile Batthyány Circle of Professors, as usual, was silent at a time when they should be defending the integrity of academic freedom. On the other hand, László Lovász, president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, stood by CEU and even offered himself as a possible middleman in future negotiations between the government and the university. He declared that “CEU is a very significant research center and international educational institution. It is good that it is situated in Budapest.”

Even a Fidesz-supported deputy mayor of District XV in Budapest, Zoltán Balázs, spoke out in defense of the university. But he is not a run-of-the-mill Fidesz politician. He happens to be a professor of political science at Corvinus University who also taught off and on at CEU. Balázs is a true conservative. Earlier he was often a guest in political discussion groups at ATV. He wasn’t my favorite, not so much because of his conservative ideas but rather because of his mannered and stilted style. But this time I was pleased that he sat down and wrote an article that was published in HVG titled “CEU and the freedom of conscience.” In it, he pointed out that “there is no sane person who wouldn’t consider the quality of American universities in general to be the standard anywhere in the world.” He added that “the University is one of Hungary’s doors to the world.” At the end of the article Balázs shared his disappointment with the Hungarian government, writing: “I have given up all hope” that the current political climate will change for the better.

As far as the European Union is concerned, Frans Timmermans did bring up the issue at today’s meeting of the European Commission. Tibor Navracsics, commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, is studying the matter. I wrote to him to remind him of his academic past. I urge all of you to write to him as well. His e-mail address is cab-navracsics-contact@ec.europa.eu

March 29, 2017
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Istvan
Guest

When Weber first posted the news about the U.S. Embassy in Budapest’s statement of support for CEU I was quite surprised. It is interesting that George Pataki may have played a role in getting the State Department to formally issue a statement of support for CEU. Pataki was a supporter of Florida Senator Marco Rubio and effectively denounced Trump during the Republican primaries several times. Pataki also has investments in Hungary that could be negatively impacted by messing with Orban’s plan for total hegemony over Hungary which makes this all the more interesting.

webber
Guest

István, people who speak in the press for the Hungarian government have gone into insane anti-American rants on t.v. over the past week. There is no way that Washington could ignore this – not even Trump’s State Department. For a taste of what I mean, I suggest you watch this sickening roundtable discussion (below) which includes Tamás Fricz, the director of the government’s NGO, CÖF, and leader of the Békemenetek. Fricz’s organization is fully funded by the government, and Fricz says exactly what he is told to say on t.v. His entire presentation below was approved, you may be sure, by Orban – and note the barely concealed anti-semitic conspiracy theory. He does not mention Jews, just the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, and an effort to rule the world – and there is not a Hungarian alive who doesn’t understand what he really means. Note also the vile, vile anti-American comments. This is what madness sounds like when it comes to power: http://www.echotv.hu/video/119655/20170328_Civil_kor_2

pappp
Guest

Spot the Russian connection.

webber
Guest

Spot on, Pappp!

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘madness….when it comes to power’

‘I know there isn’t no beast-not with claws and all that, I mean- but I know there isn’t no fear, either’.
Piggy paused
‘Unless-‘
Ralph moved restlessly
‘Unless what?’
‘Unless we get frightened of people’.

William Golding ‘Lord of the Flies’

Magyarorszag …appears rushing headlong to have so-called ‘Piggys’ with their rimmed glasses and quest for intellectual and scientific endeavor dying a new death in the ‘real world’. Some leaders would love nothing than to crush the symbolic glasses beneath their feet and be done with the work.

Istvan
Guest

So now Gyorgy Dorner is a legitimate political commentator, an achievement for such an unqualified director of the historic New Theater. The same Dorner who was a supporter of the far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party. I think it’s a real bad idea for the Hungarian right to unleash on the nationalist Trump administration, it could show up on one of the rightwing cable news shows in the USA Trump watches and learns about the world from. Trump could become aware of this and decide all is not well with Hungary asking his good friend Putin to clean things up over there.

Observer
Guest

webber

I suppose you know that the Eco TV Firtz, Bogár, Szaniszló, Bayer etc. (and owner Gábor Széles, who once promised to produce a perpettum mobile) are the lunatic fringe.
They are, however, part of the Orban propaganda machine and dish their crap to millions. This factor should be take seriously.

Observer
Guest

Sorry, indeed.
This btw confirms that the extremist loony fringe are part of the Orban regime as the same characters are pushing the same poison by the same methods.

webber
Guest

As Eva suggested, Echo TV is now Orban’s mouthpiece. This message is not peripheral, it is coming directly from Orban.

webber
Guest

Tamás Fricz is loony, but he’s never been at the fringe. He is a court “intellectual”.

petofi
Guest

What is greatly entertaining–from the far confines of la belle province–is that Hungary and Hungarians are getting everything they deserve…for their past, and their live-without-ethics ideology.

Hungary’s only expertise is in ass-licking.

Member

Dear Mr. Navracsics cab-navracsics-contact@ec.europa.eu

As I hope you are aware, this is your chance either to rehabilitate yourself in history as a person of integrity or to confirm forever that you are Orban’s stooge.

I hope you will make the right decision.

Stevan Harnad

pappp
Guest

Stevan, you should know that Navracsics like all people working for Orban are controlled by Orban via some kind of a kompromat.

Orban would never let anybody into a position of power who might conceivably be dangerous to him in any way.

If you think Navracsics will go against Orban (would act in any way which might conceivably be interpreted as if he was going against Orban) you have no clue about how Orban manages Fidesz.

Navracsics is practically an impotent niemand who is still loyal to Orban and will forever be loyal to him – well, at least as long as the statute of limitations hasn’t run. (He also has to be loyal as he was handpicked by Orban.) Navracsics’ job is basically about reporting to Orban about inside rumors circulating within the Commission.

Member

I’m sure you’re right, but I think Éva was right to encourage us to write to him anyway, and I think words like this are the ones that need to reach his ears, even if he feigns deafness to them. (The words should also be made public.)

Member

Talán, talán : “ki ha halni nem mer , kinek drágább rongy élete, mint a haza becsülete “. Stb, stb.

Ferenc
Guest

pappp, what did you do so far, apart from commenting here,
did you write to somebody about this, started a demonstration/petition/etc whatever necessary to make the public really aware what’s really going on here?
If not yet, I kindly ask you to do one of such things, thanks in advance

webber
Guest

Navracsics has made an announcement – Brussels does not have the right to intervene in the higher education policies of member states. (true, btw).

So forget Navracsics, and forget Brussels.

Remember, though, that foreign policy is still made Paris and Berlin and Rome and Vienna and Bratislava etc., etc., etc. Those countries could speak out. Why aren’t they?

Ferenc
Guest

No right to intervene, still leaves open the choice to make a clear statement about this matter.
The main question: can tailor-made laws against something/somebody in a democratic system be considered democratic?

webber
Guest

This is now an open dictatorship with semi-democratic elections every four years. There is no getting around the fact that it is a dictatorship now. Only dictatorships try to eliminate fully independent private institutions. The attack on CEU makes it clear – if it were not clear yet – that no private property or business is safe in Hungary. The government can confiscate, bankrupt, or drive out anything and anyone it wants to. As to the semi-democratic nature of elections – the last elections were judged to be “free but not fair.” The next elections will certainly be worse. Why should Fidesz run a fairer campaign? It could actually lose elections in 2018. The majority of people now actively hate Fidesz. They may not see an alternative, but they hate the Party (I think Pappp would agree with me on this point).

pappp
Guest

Agreed, most people hate the Party. I still think Fidesz as a party can be defeated in 2018 though not because the system is democratic. Hungary is not a democracy. But all autocracies eventually become vulnerable if they can’t consistently deliver and become too arrogant.

petofi
Guest

The attack on CEU is nothing less than to signal that it is OK to attack the weakening ‘lion’ that is America…(courtesy Russia).

pappp
Guest

I agree, that’s what I was saying. This is also a Russian-inspired/supported operation against the US (at least in the symbolic realm). The question is will the US understand this?

wrfree
Guest

Well if you ask me pappp I’d sure hope we don’t let this go. Kind of important, eh?

You see in my humble opinion if really anybody let’s this all go well the West might as well get a shovel and prepare to have an audacious VO go off his head and go on in pompous victory to utter later on those infamous words of Nikki back in those crazy cold war days, ‘Vee vill bury you!’ I’m pretty sure that agenda is still around. The thing I guess that’s changed is that VO has been hanging around with the wrong pal for awhile. Unfortunately, he’s getting perhaps the same idea. Those guys are getting to think alike.

If the West sits down while a ‘democratic’ society muzzles free intellectual inquiry mama we’re all loopy now. The West should not and cannot be taken for fools under the circumstances. Hope this works out folks.

Istvan
Guest

No Trump does not see the world this way pappp. He still see Putin as a potential ally against China for the moment. Maybe after Chinese president Xi Jinping plays golf next week at Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago he can convince Trump he should turn against Putin. These days one never knows where US foreign policy is going, its a day by day thing you know.

wrfree
Guest

And you know Istvan this kind of thing ‘concentrates the mind wonderfully’. I hope the US now has seen a what a possible future will be like with the Magyar state.If this is a sort of VO ‘litmus test’ the US shouldn’t be shy in destroying the chemistry set between the two. On some things well you can’t sit by.

Observer
Guest

Hear, hear!

Member

Bukarest did so.

petofi
Guest

Professor Harnad:

To be Orban’s stooge is worth multi-millions: to be a person
of integrity in Hungary carries with it no future nor fortune.

Guest

Maybe this affair will one day be considered the beginning of the end of the O regime?
Sometimes I wonder whether O hates Sosros for sending him to England so many years ago – what did happen to the Hungarian young man at that time and that place? Did he realise how unimportant Hungary is in the greater scheme of things – and wanted to change this?

Or was it something personal?

A normal person would have been forever grateful for this chance – but maybe O was already indoctrinated too much by his stay(s) in Moscow?

This whole thing is really strange …

petofi
Guest

Tsk, tsk.
O hates Soros because he’s been advised by his handlers to act out at this point in time.

Ferenc
Guest

some info about EU Commission and CEU in this article http://bbj.hu/economy/us-concerned-about-proposed-education-law_130811

Ferenc
Guest

for who dooesn’t want to address Navracsics directly, another option is to mail Frans Timmermans (first vice president of the EU Commission, one could say one of Navracsics EU bosses, and very concerned and outspoken in HU cases) at:
frans-timmermans-contact@ec.europa.eu

Guest

Timmermans won’t do anything about Hungary. He has already had too many opportunities to do so in the past years and I am sure he would have done something if only he could have. His hands are tied and he will sit quietly, maybe to write a letter at best but that is as far as he will go.

pappp
Guest

“I don’t know, of course, what was in Orbán’s head when, in the middle of the night, the amendments to the Law on Higher Education were posted on the website of the Hungarian Parliament.”

Orban is insane – not in a criminal sense of course, but clinically. He just now happened to move to ban and liquidate CEU – because it’s so much fun to see liberals agitated and he wanted to show to liberals (and to his loyal supporters too) that he can do it, that he can get away with it and nobody can stop him, that he is that powerful now. He just needed that validation, that fix of power high. Orban wanted to see people begging but after that he was to carry out the execution anyway, this way the enjoyment is always greater.

petofi
Guest

Quite so, Pappp.
But, lest we forget: the hungarian animal is always avid to be fed his favorite–HATE.

pappp
Guest

Lacan famously stated that the madman, who thinks that he is a king, is no crazier than the king, who thinks that he is a king. Orban is clearly a madman now who thinks that he is a prime minister.

pappp
Guest

The comrades from Mother Russia are always happy to lend a helping hands to their Hungarian friends.

If this isn’t a fantastic example of inter-agency cooperation then I don’t know what is.

http://www.dw.com/en/european-university-in-st-petersburg-threatened-with-closure/a-38093963

pappp
Guest

Apparently everybody knew about the plan to kill CEU for months (except for the public).

This is serious, it is really about banning and liquidating CEU.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20170330_fidesz_ceu_kormany_rektor_michael_ignatieff_soros_gyorgy_palkovics_laszlo_balog_zoltan

Ferenc
Guest

OT – multinational food
The “Nemzeti Élelmiszerlánc-biztonsági Hivatal (NÉBIH)” has completed it’s study in comparing the quality of similar food products, western (Austria/Germany) against Hungarian. HVG just published an article about this http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20170330_elelmiszervizsgalat_multik_osszeeskuves_leleplezes and put the whole report up on scribd: https://www.scribd.com/document/343415648/A-Nebih-terme-k-o-sszehasonli-ta-s-kiadvanya
Well the results are smashing: no serious differences for similar products, comparing sometimes similar but in reality completely different products (e.g.Spar S-budget with Spar brand), and so on and so on……

What really made my day: in a western Haribo sweet is maracuja used, while on the other hand in the Hungarian one passion-fruit. Now I happen to really like all kind of fruits, especially some tropical ones, and I have to be honest I like maracuja as much as passion fruit, because they are a different name for THE SAME!!!!!

Oh Boy, oh boy, how much has the Ministry of Agriculture, which ordered the study, paid for this @#$*@#$%.

PS: one thing I noticed, which isn’t mentioned in the report, is that the Heineken star is much bigger on western beer-cans than on Hungarian beer-bottles……

Observer
Guest

Ferenc

OMG, you shocked me with the maracuja/passion controversy link.

I was just thinking about how similar the method are:
Eva writes “..an article “Can the Soros-School Stay?” that appeared in Figyelő…This opening salvo was followed by at least four articles in Magyar Idők,..” and now a law is proposed to kill the CEU.
In Stalinist times a humble worker all of a sudden would denounce a top party boss at a meeting, an article would appear and in a couple of months the party boss was arrested and in six months he was executed.

Hajra magyarok! Stay on this path, you are not there yet.

Observer
Guest

But I got distracted, we have to resolve the maracuja/passion fruit crisis now. No proud nation (nemzet) can allow to be cheated like this.

Ferenc
Guest

This is the statement by the Hungarian Minister of Agriculture: There is a double standard at work on the European food market
http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-agriculture/news/there-is-a-double-standard-at-work-on-the-european-food-market

On the Hungarian page is a video of the minister’s presentation: http://www.kormany.hu/hu/foldmuvelesugyi-miniszterium/hirek/kettos-merce-mukodik-az-europai-elelmiszerpiacon
Some quotes (for fun):
*this is the first of such an extensive study in Europe
*multinationals are producing lower quality for Hungarian market
*etc etc.
And they seem to seriously mean that!! Are they drunk??
This is a joke, these people didn’t even look in their ‘own study’!!

PS: another thing I noticed in the study, beer on Hungarian market has lower % alcohol, may be the testers (some students?) didn’t feel drunk enough after tasting and therefore ‘tested’ the ‘Hungarian’ beer as of lower quality.

webber
Guest

Hungarian beer actually is of lower quality. Drink it, then drink beer from any Western country, and you’ll see. Hungarian-bottled/boxed milk was tested a few years ago, and all of it had been diluted with water. All of it. Every single brand.

petofi
Guest

“diluted”–Capitalism, Hungarico-style.

Guest

Soproni is my favorite. It is just as good as any Western beer of the same type. I do not believe that any breweries cheat. If the supermarkets want to sell cheap beer the breweries lower the quality.

webber
Guest

To each his own. Some people like American Budweiser. I think Soproni is undrinkable. It is cheap, though.

Guest

And it’s made by Heineken …
Why are “many” Hungarian beers no good?

One reason might be that they all don’t conform to the German rules for beer – the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot!
They all contain kukoricadára aka maize – like US beers, even those that have “German designs”: Spaten, Löwenbräu etc, all brewed under licence …

Funnily enough the “best” beers that I’ve drank lately are the cheaper ones:
DeHelder (Tesco)
ARGUS (LIdl)

They only use komló and árpamaláta (Gerste)! Just like in Germany. I haven’t found out yet who brews these – it’s either a Polish or a Czech company I think – and another funny point: They don’t use aluminium cans but steel – easy to recognise if you have a magnet …

Observer
Guest

Ferenc

They are not drunk, the idiotic statements and inflammatory vocabulary are part of the “permanent revolution” syndrome, e.g. Cuba, N.Korea. Or today’s OV radio interview – very close to 1960s style, and the lies were flowing thick.

Since these regimes cannot improve the lot of their subjects they need excuses for their own failures and for the deflecting or suppression of discontent. The most effective is the employment of external “enemies” together with “their local agents”.
Note the use of: struggle/victory, enemies/assault, nation.
Note also the avoidance of discussions of economic issues, or anything clearly measurable, rather push hot air and roll bollocks.

This is an ancient play on basic human psychology – people are willing to belong and believe, in whatever (for the lack of better one). A short article on this:
http://theconversation.com/why-are-some-people-more-gullible-than-others-72412

Ferenc
Guest

I know.
The point is, if now there will be a poll in Hungary about ‘multi-national’ food, what will be it’s outcome, you think? Anywhere near something truthfull? And over some time what will stick in the minds of a big part of the people?
How can these problems be tackled best? I suggest two paralel used methods:
-seriously checking of cases brought up, and make all involved accountable for their responsibilities in it
-humorously make complete fools of all involved who are only BS-ing around (so basically OV and all his vasals)

Observer
Guest

Terence

Both, with emphasis on the second. We are talking emotions and faith here.

pappp
Guest

After Lajos Bokros CEU only needs Ferenc Gyurcsány, Imre Szekeres and Tamás Bauer and then Orban will surely shit into his pants and revoke the bill.

If I was at CEU I would figure the very last thing CEU needs right now in order to gain sympathy by undecideds and the majority is hopelessly unpopular or even hated liberals and leftists.

CEU must think outside the box and firmly tell former SZDSZ people (like Gabor Denmszky, Péter Molnár, Gábor Fodor et al) to get lost for ever.

Hungarian people just love to hate former SZDSZ people and will only enjoy their tormenting. The liberal elite is very unpopular in Hungary as well which is why Orban figured he can now ban CEU and nobody will give a shit (other than former SZDSZ people).

petofi
Guest

re: “…Hungarian people love to hate…”

If the giant, fiery, open-pit behind the Auschwitz crematoria were still functioning, Hungaricoes would pay to sit by it and watch the fun…

Alex
Guest
Within CEU there has been an awareness since December that the government will come after us, only there was a common belief that it wouldn’t happen until the destruction of the NGO sector was complete. It is also still not entirely clear if this isn’t a ploy to get GS to agree to stop funding NGOs in return for letting CEU remain. Probably not and this would surely be a failing strategy anyway. Ignatieff states over and over that CEU has no home but Budapest, but this attack shows that a cosmopolitan institution has an inevitably difficult time surviving in an increasingly authoritarian country. If CEU survives this episode but Orban wins in 2018, does anyone doubt he will come back for round two better prepared and determined to finish the job? Ignatieff’s call for an international agreement ensuring the continued operation of CEU in Hungary is a very tall order, and an indication that he is willing to make ambitious demands precisely because he is prepared to make the decision to relocate to a more welcoming country such as Austria or Germany. If this happens CEU will not only survive, it will thrive. The cost to Hungary, on the… Read more »
LwiiH
Guest

With any of the other decisions one could always get a feel for what OV was trying to achieve but this one…. it simply doesn’t make any sense. My two guesses, someone wants the campus buildings for something else or this is a throw away in some other negotiation.

webber
Guest

But CEU has practically nothing it can offer. It is independently funded and organized. It has permanent funding – a trust -, and exists independently of all Soros’s other organizations. Soros could die tomorrow, and CEU would keep going. If Soros wanted to, he couldn’t shut CEU down. It’s free and independent. And CEU cannot offer to close a single one of Soros’s NGOs. The university is not connected with them. And the Hungarian government cannot negotiate with Soros about CEU, they can only negotiate with the Rector. So what could CEU offer the government.

If they just want the buildings, then there are other ways – they could make a quiet offer to buy them. But I also heard a rumor that it is precisely the buildings that someone in the government wants, and they want to get them very cheaply. Allegedly it is one person. I can’t confirm the rumor, so I will not repeat it in detail. Also, it’s very hard for me to believe.

Alex
Guest

CEU cannot deny NGOs funding but OSF can be told by Soros to back off funding. It’s an unlikely strategy. The likely and obvious one is that symbolically CEU is a huge thorn in the side of Orban. It is the foreign body that doesn’t belong, it is Soros thumbing is nose at him from the middle of the 5th District, it is the embodiment of everything the Fidesz crowd hates, as Maria Schmidt has said. Rationality just may not play into it.

webber
Guest

They have to talk with Soros, not with CEU.

I think CEU would be a lot better off in another country. Hungary would lose everything. But CEU would lose nothing, really.

If I were on CEU’s board, and if the government really passes this law, I would suggest that CEU move to Bucharest. It’s a nice town.

Symbolically, moving the univ. to Bucharest would be the biggest slap in the face Orban could ever imagine. And Romania would benefit a hell of a lot – and Romania could use the investment.

Ferenc
Guest

Why move out, why compromise?
I would just keep doing what they’re doing, and let OV&Fidesz come and try to take any legal action against CEU. In the end CEU will win or the others.
But any compromise and/or moving out will be taken by OV&Co a a win, which they never ever deserve to get!!

webber
Guest

They will be driven out if the law is passed. I agree, they should resist and use every means possible to stay, but let us say that it becomes clear, in 2021, that they will be forcibly closed – by the police – as the law says they might. Then what? Then, obviously, they will have to move to another country. Which country? I suggest Romania for symbolic reasons. There are lots of other possibilities, though.

Guest

And now for the good news:

O and his Fideszniks don’t realise how crazy this looks to an outsider – this finally shows that the regime in Hungary is not only illiberal, corrupt, you name it – but a total enemy of democracy!

As I’ve written before:
These latest developments (The beer affairs, the food fight, the CEU banning – wonder what idiocy will be next?) will be considered once the beginning of the end …

webber
Guest

A member of the Hungarian government – an assistant state secretary – is currently enrolled at CEU, and the government is paying his tuition. They themselves know the value of a degree from CEU, and yet they want to shut it down. Pappp is right – they are insane, or led by a madman which is the same thing. Story here: http://index.hu/belfold/2017/03/30/a_ceu-ra_jar_egy_helyettes_allamtitkar/

webber
Guest

The government is insane, and will close CEU regardless, I think. There is no need for compromise because the government does not want to compromise. This (below) is the news report from yesterday broadcast on the station now owned by Orban personally (through his front man Mészáros). The report starts with the words “CEU threatened the government” and is accompanied by pictures of lots of brown-skinned students so that Hungarians will think CEU is really just a foreign institution with no Hungarians involved:

pappp
Guest

I think it will depend on the outcome of the elections too. if Orban remains after 2018 CEU will be closed for sure.

But Orban can be defeated and CEU must resist. I would really hate CEU to leave, like Germany needs another good university and well-paying jobs.

If CEU can delay the banning, it can provide a kind of moral support (to those few people who follow the CEU situation).

Orban is insane but his underlings will remain with him in the bunker until the very last days. Deep state continued to support Milosevic too during those years Slobo basically destroyed Serbia and I’m sure this is what would happen in Hungary too.

Moreover, I’m certain that the Russians are actively supporting Orban’s services (if not himself) in this project.

In a sense this is also about Russia against the US. Will Russia deliver a symbolic blow to US (drive a symbol of the US away from the soil of Hungary) and send a message to the Yankees that hey, Hungary is our sphere of interest now, Orban does what we say; or will the US assert itself after all?

Ferenc
Guest

BTW anybody here knows what’s Jobbik’s opinion in this matter?
just curious for it

pappp
Guest

Just as Moscow directs Jobbik is against CEU. Jobbik is even more of a Russian agent then Fidesz is (although it’s hard to believe).

Member
Two other points. One already made is that CEU has been engaged in a lot of building renovation in the last two/three years. At the time, bearing in mind the fascistsvisceral hatred of everything it stands for (freedom of speech and thought primarily) I felt it strange that the CEU had received permission from the local government (District 5) to carry out such work. District 5 is, of course, controlled by the Rogan Mafia, even by the low standards of Fidesz, the most corrupt and criminal organisation presently operating in Hungary. CEU management has been guilty of naivety in not seeing a longer term strategy on behalf of that particular Godfather when he granted permission for their redevelopment. Secondly, the OSA Archives (http://www.osaarchivum.org/archives) is now officially a part of CEU not OSF as it name implies. Close CEU and in all likelihood the Archives also close. Now...bearing in mind the fascists terror in regard to any information from the period of 1980-89 being in the public domain, that expulsion would be a major victory for the regime`s hierarchy. Not saying that is a major reason in CEU being chased out of Hungary but it sure would be a bonus for… Read more »
Gretchen Dunn
Guest

Tried to copy/paste Senator Cardin’s (MD) message of support to CEU from FB but it failed.

Gretchen Dunn
Guest

Image may contain: text
Tried to copy/paste Senator Cardin’s (MD) message of support for CEU, but it didn’t work.

Istvan
Guest

The CEU press conference on the legislation in full is out, the answers to questions by the media in both Hungarian and English is very interesting see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XIkvfu2inc

Ferenc
Guest
Trying to make a timeline with relevant things in this case, I came to this: 1.hate campaign against Soros (starting 2016 or earlier?) 2.seminar at CEU by Jan-Werner Muller about Populism* (2017.Feb.02) 3.start of campaign against CEU with Figyelo article (early 2017.Feb) 4.preparation of legislation against CEU (2017.Feb-Mar) 5.continuation of hate campaign by MI (2017.Feb/Mar) 6.posting video of 2 by CEU on youtube* (2017.Mar.16) 7.intensivation of hate campaign by origo/pestiscracok (late 2017.Mar) 8.publishing of legislation proposal by government (2017.Mar.28) *what is so peculiar about the seminar is it’s title “How Can Populism Be Defeated?” (note: his earlier presentations were called same as his book “What Is Populism”), at CEU it seemed mostly referring to US politics, but OV was also clearly named as an example of a Populist. And guess what happened today: at the conference of the EPP Group in Malta OV must have said that people should see him as a Populist, because in his opinion he isn’t (anymore?) [actually I really don’t understand how the other EPP paties still tolerate OV&Fidesz in their group] So interested in your opinions for: a.could JW Muller’s seminar be the spark, which set the wheels against CEU earlier than planned in… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

correction: at the conference of the EPP Group in Malta OV must have said that people should not see him as a Populist, because in his opinion he isn’t (anymore?)

webber
Guest
webber
Guest

The Hungarian government has fast-tracked the bill on CEU – as if it weren’t moving fast enough. It was to have been presented to Parliament on Wednesday, and now that will happen on Monday. The Hungarian council of university rectors is meeting on Monday to discuss CEU. The law could be passed before they are able to release a statement. https://444.hu/2017/03/31/turbofokozatba-kapcsol-a-kormany-mar-hetfon-beterjesztik-a-ceu-elleni-torvenyt

hfrog
Guest

Debrecen University (at least its government appointed chancellor) already supports the bill so don’t hold out too much hope.

Rectors at state universities are 100% loyal to Orban.

This is a summary execution by an insane dictator.

Unfortunately the liberals are a great target because people like to watch executions and the anti-liberal, anti-Soros, pro-Russian propaganda has been ongoing for months so few people will shed a tear.

Incredibly sad but the bottom is far far away. Orban is really working on creating a Ukrainian situation I guess the Russians want to replay the events this they they winning the game.

Ferenc
Guest

So the hope has to put on the students!
STRIKE MONDAY ALL DAY!!

webber
Guest

Don’t count on students. The leaders of the Hungarian student unions (HÖK and HÖOK) are now 100% Fidesz – the party took them over through the awful student-union election rules, which state that only the current leadership can approve candidates. So, students in universities throughout Hungary get to vote in elections where all the candidates are Fideszniks.

Individual teachers and students in higher education are signing the petition for CEU. Some departments have also come out for CEU. In some universities, however, the Rector has issued a rule that nobody can speak for the university without the Rector’s prior approval, and firing is the punishment for violating this rule. In these schools, departments will not come out for CEU. Individuals, however, are coming out for CEU – as private individuals, not as members of their universities.

Ferenc
Guest

Whatever those Fidesznix, just a call for all students in Hungarian higher education, who want to support CEU:
MAKE MONDAY (when the legislation is expected to be voted in parliament) A STUDENT STRIKE DAY

Member

An open letter to the fascist regime, includes signatories from 14 nobel prize winners.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KtvxPCQrdK2gUhvgc5s9F5VpmiPux06XwaEkde1GeHw/pub

Guest

Wow!
That’s an impressive list with signatories from all over the world – but will it help?
Hungary is getting like North Korea – and that’s not a joke!

wrfree
Guest

Some parts of a letter written in 2011 by Havel and signed by a host of others declaiming what Orban was building in the country as a result of his ‘new turn in political philosophy….

’20 years after communism collapsed, Hungary’s government, though elected democratically, is misusing its legislative majority to methodically dismantle democracy’s checks and balances, to remove constitutional constraints, and to subordinate to the will of the ruling party all branches of power, independent institutions, and the media.

We turn to the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Council, as well as to all European governments and political parties that care for Europe’s true unity. We call on you to take resolute action to keep our Europe of democracy on track!

8 years later and what do we have but a train just picking up speed and rolling down the tracks. It appears it’s tough to stop it. What will be the train wreck? Democracy or illiberalism? Could be getting tough for the two to exist in the country. Let’s see what signing does this time around.

Member

You are probably right.
When the regimes man at the central bank cant even manage an intermediate (!!!) level language exam (http://budapestbeacon.com/news-in-brief/central-bank-governor-fails-complete-phd-program/45422)
, it is safe to say the Orbanists dont put much emphasis on the concept of intellectual excellence. Too busy drinking their palinka and beating up their womenfolk to bother with that nonsense.

However, I am sure it is a welcome gesture and further proof of the high-standing of CEU worldwide. Its expulsion will have ramifications in terms of international reputation for the remaining universities here, something the Quislings at those establishments should bear in mind

Ferenc
Guest

Send a Letter of Solidarity (with CEU)
all necessary information here: https://www.ceu.edu/node/17842

Ferenc
Guest

And here’s a petition to support CEU against HU government.
Now at almost 22.000 signatures (need some 3.000 more to reach their target of 25.000)
https://www.change.org/p/hungarian-national-assembly-save-the-central-european-university/u/19878947?utm_medium=email&utm_source=51784&utm_campaign=petition_update&sfmc_tk=4IW1HTLNJVceg2RmVnpxzyJmwSt7Dy4z2u4urj4o6a5SEIQ9EAxuTg9NSmrcMr2U
YOUR ALL INVITED TO SIGN

Ferenc
Guest
Ferenc
Guest

Current signatures at 23.560, just some 1.440 to go for the target!!!
WHO DIDN’T CHECK THIS PETITION YET, YOU’RE HEREWITH INVITED!!

seinean
Guest

“I am personally grateful to the Romanians, the only country from the region, for standing up for the academic freedom of a U.S.-Hungarian university”

Thank you for this positive feelings but the situation might not be so clear-cut. As you know, the socialist government in Romania was confronted with mass demonstrations in January and February when they tried to pass a decree that decriminalised some corruption offences. Then party officials and pro-government media accused the protesters of being manipulated and paid by “Soros” and “multinational corporations” acting against the national interests of Romania. In my opinion, the stance of the Romanian government as far as the academic freedom and many other sensitive topics are concerned is far fom clear.

Guest

The SPIEGEL reported that the mayor of Vilnius (who went to CEU himself) just invited CEU to relocate there …

Maybe it would really be a good idea to isolate Orbanistan – or not?

Ferenc
Guest

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pappp
Guest

Is this a joke? There’s a spelling error in the text (akor instead of akkor). At least university workers should be more careful with spelling when organizing a strike.

webber
Guest

Has to be a joke. This is the first time I’ve seen or heard of it. Looks like something a half-literate Jobbik person might make up. There are two spelling errors in it.

Ferenc
Guest

comment image

pappp
Guest

sorry, I thought this was official.

webber
Guest

Still has errors. Parlament is spelled with two “a”s, for instance, not two “e”s. There are other errors, too.
Why did you make this up?

webber
Guest

április, not apr, a felsőoktatásban, not felsőoktatásban, and there are other errors too – just not worth going into.
Also, you should know that it is illegal to hold a strike like that in Hungary. Workers have to present their demands formally and try to negotiate several times before they can strike. Wildcat strikes are completely illegal – meaning an employer can legally fire people taking part in strikes like the one you’ve “announced” above.
So, why did you make that?

Ferenc
Guest

First, thanks for your corrections, but don’t understand “felsőoktatásban, not felsőoktatásban” (the same, and google shows same also), furthermore which others. So decided as not-Hungarian not to try to “write” Hungarian anymore (without serious checking before publishing).
Second, Why Not? Commented it at more places (unfortunately including the errors), may be some students will take it from there. If not, so be it, and it still was fun making it.
Third, students aren’t workers, and in this case the OV&Fidesz don’t give time for any negotiations/talk, so next to demonstration, a strike is for students the best way to express their solidarity with CEU in this ‘lex CEU’ case.
The close, the main thing I want to say:
come on you, Hungarian people, the ones who are fed up with OV&Co really start DOING something about this current political situation!
And if you need any help (from abroad), call for it, I’ll support you!

webber
Guest

The word “a” is needed before felsőoktatásban here.
Why not do what you did? Good question. Excellent, even. I just thought for a second that it was “real”, not an artistic effort. As an artistic effort, it’s fine. It’s too divorced from Hungarian reality now, but as something abstract it’s okay.
As to reality:
Strikes cannot happen, as I said, without a lot of prior effort. Hungarian regulations on strikes are almost incredible. They make wildcat strikes completely illegal.

wrfree
Guest

Rationale for the dumping of CEU by VO:

“Hungary is a sovereign country, it supports knowledge in all cases but does not tolerate cheating,” Orban said. “Not even a billionaire can stand above the law, therefore this university must also obey the law’.

So it is for ‘cheating’ then that the university should get the lockup. Amazing how something should be destroyed arguably on false allegations as the laws in the country simply benefit and snugly fit a government gone rogue in the matter of ethics and for pursuing the ‘greater good’ of multiple communities. What a cockup. Magyarorszag is one heck of a topsy-turvy place. A world turned upside down.

Ferenc
Guest

It’s worse!
When OV said this (probably Mar.31 in his usual friday morning radio blabber), CEU was doing everything perfectly according the Hungarian (and US) laws.
Only he instructed his vasals to propose a legislation modification, which is expected to be voted in parliament monday Apr.03.

So who was cheating friday morning, and thinking to be standing above the law??????????
Let’s paraphrase: A Populist may think he’s able, but nobody, not even a populist, may stand above the law!

Member
Kiváncsi vagyok, mi lesz az eredmény. Ez is csak egy gumicsont lett! Ügyes stratégia, ilyeneket kidobni a nép elé és megtudni mi az ami mozgatja az ellenzék fantáziáját és minek az érdekében alakul ki számottevő ellenállás. Aztán visszalép a viktor és mindenki azt hiszi győzött a nép és a nemzetközi összefogása az értelmiségnek, a Fidesz maffia kormány ellen. Közben megy a sokkal fontosabb politikai játszma az Orosz érdekek kiszolgálása. A viktor 24/7 szervezi a Balkántól a Balti Tengerig az EU lebontására a szélsőséges erőket. MO.-n pedig megy a korrupció, Paks 2-vel beindulhat újabb évi több száz milliárdos lenyúlás. Hetente dob a viktor gumicsontot a népnek és a médiának. Úgy tűnik ezek győzelmek, de inkább önkéntes kicsi veszteségek, hogy a nagyok ne történhessenek meg, pl. elveszteni a választásokat, elveszteni a hatalmat és elkerülni hogy a vádlottak padjára kerüljenek. Mi történik az ügyészséggel, Handó Tündével, Polt Péterrel? Csend van Pintér Sándorról, a viktorról és a hatalmas korrupciós pénz eltűnéséről, az MNB pénzmosásáról, az aranykészlettel való spekulálással. A gazdaság, az oktatás, az egészségügy kimarad most, mert harcolnak a CEU érdekében, ami felemészti az energiáját mind a népnek, mind az un. ellenzéknek. Így nincs átfogó, jó programot kidolgozó ellenzék, csak egyes elszigetelt, erre a… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

National Union of Students in Hungary / Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája (HÖOK) changed it’s opinion: friday it didn’t show any solidarity with CEU, but on sunday it’s presidency was called together and afterwards stated their solidarity with the students at CEU.
http://hirtv.hu/ahirtvhirei/meggondolta-magat-a-hook-1392136
http://hook.hu/hirek/aktualitasok/12-aktualitasok/142/a-hook-elnoksegenek-kozlemenye-a-vasarnapi-uleserol

Wondering what will happen today: in and around parliament and at the universities

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