Saturday

24th Oct 2020

Thousands protest Hungary university bill

  • A previous protest against the new university bill (Photo: Nora Koves)

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Budapest on Sunday (9 April) to rally against Hungarian legislation that would close down Central European University (CEU).

According to newswires, the crowds chanted that they wanted president Janos Ader to veto the bill on Monday. Ader's signature is required for the proposal to become law.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The anger is about new legislation that would require universities to have a campus and faculties in the country where the institute is registered. This would mean CEU, founded by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros shortly after the fall of communism, would have to close.

The press agency Reuters quoted one of the protest's organisers, a PhD student, Kornel Klopfstein.

“The government is always looking for someone to fight with, and Soros seems like a perfect person for this because he funds NGOs in Hungary and he funds CEU as well,” said Klopfstein.

Estimates for the number of participants in the protest ranged between 60,000 and 80,000.

“We have to show strength with our numbers. I'm glad that so many people showed up. [Prime minister Viktor] Orban understands only the rules of power, and our power comes from our numbers,” AFP quoted protester Viktor Szakal as saying.

The Hungarian government has denied that the bill is aimed at CEU.

Pressure mounts on Hungary over university law

EPP group leader Manfred Weber calls for the European Commission to investigate Hungary, but the centre-right party still stands by prime minster Orban in the wake of international uproar over legislation targeting the Central European University.

Anti-Soros university bill sparks protest in Budapest

Thousands gathered around the Central European University on Tuesday to protest against a legislative bill that targets it, while the US embassy and the German president expressed their support for the institution.

Opinion

The university so disliked by Orban

In a world with many new phrases like 'fake news' or 'alternative facts', Viktor Orban's government in Hungary is taking a more familiar approach to shutting down academic free expression in Hungary.

Opinion

Orban’s unpatriotic attack on CEU

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, wants to see the closure of Central European University with recent legislative changes. But his actions are truly difficult to justify when thinking as a patriot.

Analysis

Hungary's university protests, a path for change?

Hungary has seen mass protests over the last weeks in support of the Budapest-based Central European University, targeted by prime minister Orban's latest legislation. But it is unclear how the new street momentum will be transformed into political power.

News in Brief

  1. UK scientists fear Brexit blow to joint EU research
  2. Greek migrant camp lockdown extended
  3. Lukashenko and 14 others in EU crosshairs
  4. EU imposes sanctions over 2015 Bundestag cyberattack
  5. Italy reignites Mont Blanc border dispute with France
  6. Commission to press Croatia on migrant 'abuse' at border
  7. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  8. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. South Caucasus death toll much worse than feared
  2. Polish court effectively bans legal abortions
  3. MEPs urge EU to be ready to dump disputed energy treaty
  4. EU commission on defensive over 'revolving doors'
  5. Why German presidency is wrong on rule of law
  6. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  7. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  8. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us