Protest in Hungary over bill threat to Soros university

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"The Hungarian government doesn't want to close any university, neither Hungarian universities nor any of the universities belonging to Mr. Soros", Palkovics said Palkovics on Tuesday, suggesting that protesters against the law that would close the college of United States billionaire George Soros in Budapest, are misinformed".

The bill signed into law Monday by President Janos Ader sets some new conditions for foreign universities in Hungary, some seem aimed specifically at CEU.

The new rules, approved by MPs last Tuesday, bar institutions based outside the European Union from awarding Hungarian diplomas without an agreement between national governments.

It is accredited in NY state and in Hungary and students can earn degrees valid in both countries.

Last week, the nationalist government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban rushed legislation through parliament that requires foreign universities in Hungary to have a campus and provide similar courses in their country of origin. It now has approximately 1,400 students and 370 faculty members from more than 130 countries and regions.

Protesters filling Kossuth Square outside Parliament said they want President Janos Ader to veto the legislation.

"Don't sign it, Jani", the crowd chanted, using a Hungarian nickname for Ader's first name.

The US State Department will send diplomats to Budapest next week to address the CEU crisis, said Ignatieff, who spent several days in Washington to lobby the US government, lawmakers and the media.

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"It's noteworthy that all of the other institutions have accepted this modest minimal condition of university equality and fairness". CEU has vowed to resort to "all legal remedies" to remain in the Hungarian capital.

"We are of course... quite vigilant about what Russian Federation is doing in the region or more broadly in the Balkans...", he added. I'm glad that so many people showed up.

The legislation has been condemned by many academics at home and overseas, and has also drawn criticism from Washington and Brussels.

While the government denies that, Orban regularly blames Soros, who funds groups that seek to promote human rights and government transparency, for trying to undermine him. "Orban understands only the rules of power, and our power comes from our numbers".

A government proposal earlier this year to force foreign NGOs to reveal their assets was denounced as an attempt to "stigmatise or even get rid of these organisations" by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Committee.

Orban has said he is prepared "to negotiate with the United States" on the future of the university which has until January to conform with the new law.

A law expected to be passed in May would force nongovernmental organizations getting more than $24,500 a year from overseas to register with authorities.

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