Hungary and the European Commission have “moved closer in their views” on Hungary’s amended law on higher education, state secretary for education László Palkovics said after discussing the law with EC Vice President Frans Timmermans in Brussels on Tuesday. Speaking to MTI after the talks, Palkovics said he had told Timmermans that “contrary to press reports”, the “amendments do not affect the autonomy or operations of universities in Hungary”. Palkovics said Timmermans had understood the Hungarian government’s reasoning behind the amendments, which tighten regulations on foreign universities operating in the country.
The state secretary said he had stressed that the government had “no intention of closing down any universities”. This includes the university registered and accredited in Hungary under the name “Közép-Európai Egyetem” and the Central European University (CEU), which he noted is registered and accredited in the US while operating in Hungary. Palkovics also told the vice president that the operations of neither the CEU nor the university registered in Hungary “would be endangered even if the former were unable to find a way to comply with the amended law”. Should this turn out to be the case, the CEU “would still be able to continue its operations in Hungary”, albeit in some other form, Palkovics insisted, adding that the university’s business model could also potentially remain intact.