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Academic freedom in Hungary : the Bavarian rotation, in order to save the CEU in Budapest

Could be the solution for the Central European University (CEU) in Bavaria? Almost two years after in April of 2017, the Hungarian government enacted a law, "Lex CEU", which threatens the future of the Hungarian-American private University in Budapest, will now enter the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

"three professorships with the University for politics Munich, in conjunction with the faculty TUM School of Governance would like to the hallmark of their technology-oriented political science in the Portfolio of the CEU anchor," explains TUM to the plans.

New location in Vienna

"Lex CEU" refers to universities that do not offer in Hungary, European financial statements. The CEU exists in Hungary for 26 years, assigns to about 80 percent in the United States accredited diplomas. By the new law, it is the University impossible, these financial statements continue to be in Hungary.

After protests and attempts at mediation had remained on the Hungarian government to be ineffective, the leadership of the University in December 2018, that the CEU opened a Campus in Vienna. From September 2019 new entrants will begin their studies in a building in spring street 51 in the district favorites.

The future CEU-location in Vienna In the source of road 51, in the district of the favorites in the picture is a Simulation.Photo/Simulation: CEU

With the Viennese Dependance to set up the CEU is also in part new, the yet to of social science Master plans and doctoral programs specialized University in Vienna for the first time, a bachelor's degree. In the medium term, the Campus should move to the Otto-Wagner-Area, a historic hospital site in the district of Penzing.

Orbán government welcomes the Bavarian proposal

at the same time a political movement has come since a few weeks back in the Causa CEU: Would like to stay, Viktor Orbán's ruling party Fidesz in the Party Association of the European people's party (EPP), should remain the CEU in Budapest, is a condition of the EPP chief Manfred Weber. It is unclear, however, whether and how the Weber, with its Bavarian CSU-party of the friends initiated a cooperation with the TU Munich can reach the.

"We need a legal guarantee that the CEU in Budapest can continue to be awarded European and American financial statements", - commented rector Michael Ignatieff, the offer from Bayern. The TUM sees this as a prerequisite for cooperation. For the 11. and 12. April Coordination meetings between Ignatieff and the TUM-to-peak are planned.

Hungary's Minister for Innovation and technology, László Palkovics, of the for higher education policy, said in an interview with the daily mirror: "If you find a solution that is legally possible, then we support that as a government."

protests against Academy Reform

In Hungary, the policy of the Minister controversial, particularly his current project, the Reform of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In early March, the Academy President László Lovász and the Minister Palkovics signed a Memorandum of understanding, according to which the 15 institutes of the Academy, outsourced and in the future by a new body. Whose members are to be appointed to half of the Academy and half from the government.

21. March called the protesters a "free Academy", as the Banner proclaimed.Photo: Tamas Kaszas/REUTERS

The restructuring is justified Palkovics with the alleged "lack of success of the Institute". The Academy with its 377 members, was obviously not suitable to lead the Institute. Overall, the Hungarian research in international comparison, cutting poorly, this would show the low level of revenue from the European Horizon 2020-science Fund, as well as the poor performance of the European "Innovation Score Board" and the Bloomberg Business School Ranking. The latter Ranking is, however, not related to the work of the Academy Institute.

debate on the freedom of Science

the Parliament has approved the reports, the must provide to the Institute every two years, so far, always, Palkovics not apply. "Do you believe that members of Parliament are able to review the Academy's scientific? No, you are not.“ The Constitution protects the freedom of Science, emphasizes Palkovics. "We take very seriously." This meant that scientific services should only be made by scientists, tested.

However, the results of a current Evaluation by an international expert Commission, which was given by the government in order not to wait Palkovics. In the first three months of this year the basic funding has not been paid to the research institutions. You got this only with the signing of the Declaration of intent for the conversion. About this and a Seven-point Plan to further their future, the Academy will vote in may for their annual General meeting. Only until then, the basic funding is secured.

EU Rapporteur Judith Sargentini had worked out in 2017, as the Hungarian government violated, in addition to numerous other fields in the area of academic freedom, the principles of the rule of law. As a precedent for Sargentini, the handling of the CEU.

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