The Central European University (CEU) has condemned the Hungarian Parliament’s passage of amendments to the country’s national law on higher education last Tuesday, April 4th. The new law, says CEU, puts at risk the academic freedom not only of CEU but also of other research and academic institutions in Hungary.
CEU is an internationally recognized institution that provides post-graduate education in social sciences and the humanities in Budapest, Hungary since 1991. CEU attracts around 1.300 doctoral and masters students each year from almost 100 countries, primarily from Central, Eastern and Western Europe, and Central Asia. It is renowned for its excellence in the mastery of established knowledge, its excellence in the creation of new knowledge in the social sciences and the humanities, and its excellence in developing the policy implications of both. The university is oriented to the interdisciplinary research that is at the core of the Enlighten project, where it leads research on Deficit reduction and Continuity of Public Services.
As academic partners of CEU, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Universiteit VanAmsterdam and the Institut d’études européennes – Université libre de Bruxelles, jointly with the non-academic actors of Enlighten Tax Justice Network (TJN), European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Finance Watch (FW) and Housing Europe (CECODHAS), we extend our solidarity to CEU’s academic and scientific communities and firmly denounce any attack on higher education’s freedom and autonomy. We join President and Rector Michael Ignatieff in his resistance against any attempt to endanger the freedom of academic institutions in Hungary and across the globe. We stand with CEU.
As part of its many contributions, CEU research for the EU-funded project Enlighten focuses on the impact of fast- and slow-burning crises on public service provision in the EU. There is little systematic research on the emerging multilevel governance of public services, its differential impact on core and peripheral EU member states, as well as countries within and outside of the Eurozo ne. The concrete links between public services and political legitimacy have not yet been well understood. The important work the CEU has been performing by evaluating the economic and social effectiveness as well as the political legitimacy of the new system of public service provision generated by the crises is now in peril.
We hope that the many calls for dialogue extended to the Hungarian government by CEU and the global scientific and academic communities will soon be heard. We adhere to those pleas and encourage the authorities to observe the impressive reaction of the Hungarian people—a sound proof that high quality education is dear to our citizens, and critical for the future of our countries.