New blow from the EU to the Government of Viktor Orbán

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Add and follow. The great room of the Court of Justice of the European Union fail again against Hungary. On this occasion, the European judges have ruled that the higher education law, adopted by the Gobierno de Viktor Orbán through the emergency route in April 2017 to prevent the activities of the Central European University (CEU) in the country, created and financed by the American investor and philanthropist Hungarian origin George Soros, is incompatible with European legislation.

The new one higher education law included a reform of the authorization regime, with new requirements for foreign universities, which forced the CEU to move its headquarters in November 2019 from Budapest to Vienna (Austria) where it opened a new university campus, so the ruling will not have practical repercussions on this university.

Incompatible with commitments

The European Comission opened an infringement procedure against the Orbán government in July 2017 and when the expected response was not obtained, the case ended in a complaint before the CJEU. According to the Community Executive, the law was incompatible with the commitments assumed by Hungary in the framework of the general agreement on trade in services – concluded with the WTO -, the free movement of services in the EU, the freedom to create universities and the freedom of the company.

This Tuesday, the European court has agreed with him. The Court finds that, by subordinating teaching activities that lead to a degree by higher education institutions located outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to the existence of an international treaty between Hungary and the third country in which the institution in question has its campus, Hungary has defaulted its commitments in relation to the pact, concluded within the framework of the World Trade Organization.

Furthermore, this requirement conflicts with provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU relating to academic freedom, freedom to establish institutions of higher education, and freedom to conduct business.

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