Hungary: EI deeply concerned about impact of new legislation on academic freedom  

published 5 April 2017 updated 11 April 2017

The global educators’ community condemns the adoption of legislative amendments proposed by Hungary’s government, endangering the independence of the Central European University and, consequently, fundamental pillars of all democracy.

Education International (EI), via a letter from its General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen to the Hungarian Minister of Human Capacities, Zoltán Balog, issued on 4 April, had already expressed its deep concerns regarding the changes to Hungary’s Act CCIV on National Higher Education threatening the operation of the Central European University (CEU) as a free and independent international graduate university impossible.

For 25 years, the CEU has played a global role in advancing knowledge and scientific inquiry, van Leeuwen noted. The CEU welcomes students, faculty, and staff from around the world, bringing new knowledge, talent, and skills to higher education and research for the benefit of Hungary and the more than 100 countries that form part of the CEU community, he stressed.

Underlining that academic freedom and university autonomy are “fundamental pillars of all democratic societies”, the letter highlights that these proposed legislative changes would “undermine those pillars and set a dangerous precedent for other institutions in Hungary”.

EI is strongly urging Hungary’s public authorities to immediately withdraw the changes.