George Soros’s university says it is being forced out of Hungary

Soros-founded Budapest university 'forced to move to Vienna'

The university set a December deadline to resolve the dispute in order to give incoming students certainty about where they will be studying next year, but has not yet reached a deal with the government.

"We fought a battle of principle to defend academic freedom", Mr. Ignatiefff said in a phone interview from Budapest on Monday.

This was stated by the rector of CEU, Michael Ignatieff.

CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff said Monday that the university "has been forced out" of Hungary, calling it an "unprecedented" act against an American university by a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and against a European university by a member of the European Union.

"In the case of the CEU we are being forced out of the country", said Liviu Matei, the CEU's pro-rector, at a press conference. In the statement, Ignatieff called the forced removal "a flagrant violation of academic freedom", adding, "It is a dark day for Europe and a dark day for Hungary". Since the CEU does not provide educational services in the U.S., it has come under threat of closure in Hungary.

"The departure of these US-accredited programmes from Hungary will be a loss for the CEU community, for the United States, and for Hungary", Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the State Department, said in a statement.

The EU's executive commission previous year referred Hungary to court in the CEU case, saying that amendments Hungary made to its higher education law - some of which clearly targeted CEU - were counter to academic freedom and other EU rights.

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Orban's critics say the legal changes deliberately targeted CEU, which is regularly ranked as the top university in Hungary.

Orban's government has conducted massive billboard and media campaigns against Soros blaming him for Europe's migrant crisis, a charge that Soros denies.

The European Commission has taken Hungary to court over the higher education law and has clashed with Orban over other issues related to the rule of law and democratic standards.

Earlier this year, Open Society Foundations, Soros' main funding network, was also forced to leave Hungary.

"The move to Vienna is a permanent move", Ignatieff said.

However, CEU will keep its Budapest campus and those students who have enrolled there will be able to complete their studies.

But he said the Orban government would not accept CEU's moves and ultimately refused to sign an agreement necessary to let it continue as a US -accredited institution in Budapest.

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