ECPR has learned that the government of Hungary is changing that country’s Law on Higher Education, effectively making it more difficult for an international academic institution (in terms of its name, accreditation, and the composition of its Faculty) to operate in Hungary.
One of ECPR’s member institutions, Central European University (CEU) will be affected severely by these measures. As an association devoted to the academic study of politics, ECPR does not take a position on domestic politics in a particular country, but it must speak out whenever the freedoms that are necessary for the academic study of politics come under threat.
Central European University was set up in Budapest over 25 years ago within a legal framework that was actively supported by the Hungarian authorities. Over the past decades, CEU’s Department of Political Science and its Department of International Relations have made a strong contribution to teaching and research in political science in Europe.
Among many other things, CEU is the host of ECPR’s annual Summer School in Methods and Techniques. The new legal provisions would make it more difficult for CEU to attract academic staff from outside the EU, and to maintain its programmes’ US accreditation. Such measures significantly constrain the academic freedom of Central European University. Their abrupt introduction puts the very existence of Central European University at risk.
ECPR therefore strongly supports the call on the Hungarian government by CEU’s President and Rector, Michael Ignatieff, 'to enter into negotiations with us to find a satisfactory way forward that allows CEU to continue in Budapest and to maintain the academic freedoms essential to its operation'.