The Hungarian government should engage in "serious, urgent and good-faith talks" with the Central European University about legal changes seen to be targeting the school founded by billionaire George Soros, a USA diplomat said Tuesday.
Hoyt Lee, Deputy Assistant Secretary for US relations with countries in Central Europe, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the U.S.
The Central European University (CEU) represents everything the current Hungarian government sees as a threat: critical thinking, liberal values, and academic freedom.
A bill signed Monday by President Janos Ader sets new conditions for foreign universities in Hungary, some of which seem aimed specifically at CEU.
Orban may be aiming for an invitation to the White House, appearing to ally himself with Trump against Soros, a prominent backer of Hillary Clinton in last year's U.S. presidential election - while also trying to please with Russian Federation.
Protesters rally in Budapest against a bill that could close a university founded by American billionaire George Soros.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Yee said in Budapest on April 11 that the legislation "very clearly targets" the CEU "and threatens this important American-Hungarian institution".
Amendments to Hungary's higher education law approved this week could force it to close or move.
Orban has for years criticised Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor and philanthropist who has spent billions of dollars campaigning for an open society at odds with the more authoritarian social model the prime minister favours.
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Central European University is accredited in the US and in Hungary, and students can earn degrees valid in both countries.
The new rules bar institutions based outside the European Union from awarding Hungarian diplomas without a binding agreement between national governments.
CEU Rector Michael Ignatieff has said the school will continue operations as normal and demanded that the law be scrapped and additional worldwide guarantees of academic freedoms be added to current legal safeguards.
Thousands marched in Hungary at the weekend in support of a George Soros-backed university that faces a government crackdown.
The bill has led to criticism from hundreds of leading academics worldwide as well as from the U.S. government and the European Union (EU).
The changes have already passed parliament but demonstrators are calling on President Janos Ader not to sign them into law.
"We don't want to resort to violence, but you can't stop us", one protester said through a megaphone.
Last week, the government submitted a draft anti-NGO law, requiring groups receiving more than US$25,000 annually to register with authorities, itemize all financial transactions, and state publicly that they are foreign funded under Hungarian law.