Its future in Budapest uncertain, CEU hedges its bets

March 13, 2018

CEU signals at moving campus to Vienna
CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff | Photo: Flickr/Central European University

The Central European University announced on Monday that it is negotiating a “memorandum of understanding that would enable CEU to open a satellite campus site in Vienna, complementing its home campus in Budapest and its American site at Bard College in New York State.”

CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff explained: “Even as we develop a CEU Vienna, Budapest will remain our home base. We are committed to resolving our long-term future in Budapest through the New York State-Government of Hungary draft agreement. We hope that the Hungarian government will sign and ratify it as soon as possible.”

In 2017, the National Assembly of Hungary modified Hungary’s law on higher education so as to make it near impossible for CEU to meet the new requirements. Critics see the move as an attempt to drive the George Soros-founded and -endowed university out of Hungary. The move was met with much criticism in Hungary and abroad. Although CEU claims to have met all the conditions set forth in the modified law, the Hungarian government has yet to sign an agreement with the State of New York regarding the fate of CEU.

While the university has insisted on numerous occasions that it intends to remain in Hungary, news of a potential campus in Vienna may be a sign that its administrators are hedging their bets.