The Closing of the CEU: the closing of Hungary

April 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm (Civil liberties, Europe, fascism, Free Speech, Human rights, Hungary, intellectuals, nationalism, populism, posted by JD)

The ultra-reactionary government of Viktor Orbán imprisons refugees and asylum seekers in barbed wire-fringed detention centres, is hostile to a free press, and (taking a leaf out of Putin’s book) is targeting NGOs that receive “foreign” funding.

Despite being a member of the EU, the Hungarian government is presently conducting a “Stop Brussels” campaign – a survey full of loaded questions aimed at scuppering the EU’s efforts to resolve the refugee crisis by requiring Hungary to take in its fair share of migrants.

Now,  the government has passed a new law that requires foreign-accredited universities to provide higher education services in their own countries – which would effectively shut down the Central European University (CEU) founded by Georg Soros, a financier who embodies for the fascistic Orbán the influence of globalisation and international capital.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Budapest on Sunday to urge President Janos Ader not to sign the law, but on Monday he did just that.

Writers, artists, civil libertarians and intellectuals have signed an open letter to President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani regarding the threat to the Central European University (CEU). The open letter, which was published on poet George Szirtes’ blog, is titled “The Closing of the CEU: the closing of Hungary“, and reads as follows:

We are deeply concerned about the passing of the disgraceful law intended to shut the Central European University in Budapest.

The law, intended for this one specific purpose, is the latest step taken by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to close out democratic institutions in the country, including press, media and NGOs.

Please note we do not say opposition institutions since the CEU is in no way a political opponent of the government. It is simply an independent university.

On 10th April, the president of the country, János Áder, signed the law and, that night, for the second night running students were out in the streets protesting in their thousands and tens of thousands. Those students are the last bastion of hope against the establishment of an authoritarian state in Hungary.

If that should happen it would be a serious blot on the EU’s conscience to have permitted this act of the Orbán government to pass without response. It reduces Europe. It weakens it. It takes it one step further to the edge of disintegration.

It is vital to act quickly. We ask for a period of intensive fact-finding into the legality of the Hungarian government’s law in this specific instance and its consequences for freedom of education, and for a process of mediation, bringing the parties together around the principle of European rule of law.

To add your name, visit George Szirtes’ blog


  1. Mick said,

    I suppose there’s a compromise – if the Hungarian government is that fascistic, it can invite David Irving and Nick Griffin to attend the university for a free speech conference. If students there are like the ones in the West, rioters will end up burning the place down before it’s ever closed! (Socialist students used to merely mob and beat people up but now they’ve upped the ante of belligerence. They still won’t go to war, though.)

    But more seriously, even the glorious EU admits that virtually all the refugees are bogus or not even from Syria. And given the riots, sexual assaults, crimewaves, terrorism and people-trafficking that we’ve seen more than enough of already, the Hungarians have the perfect right to lock down any interlopers, sight unseen.

    Hell, even when the Tories tried to vet a tiny number of child refugees, we found that papers were forged to let adults through, with the detention centres becoming all the more crammed with deportation cases.

  2. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Islam is fascist by nature. It is not fascist for Hungary to protect its people from islamists. Hungary like Britain is entitled to self determination and moreso control of our borders.

  3. Rilke said,

    Ha ha ha! These two dopes obviously no nothing of the Central European University. They appear to think it is the name of a new EU motor car. Heh heh heh! Gives these two guys banjos and some straw to chew and roll them out as a comedy duo Jim! You could make a few bob on the drunken lout stag-do circuit with the two of them; what with their habitual rants about Muslims, crude jokes about ‘feminists’, black people and ‘vegetarians’ they would go down a storm with the uncouth and semi-educated.

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