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Since April 2017, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his far-right ruling party Fidesz have threatened the Central European University (CEU) with expulsion from its home in Budapest on political grounds. Despite CEU’s full compliance with conditions set by the Hungarian government in the so-called “Lex CEU”, the government refuses to sign a deal before the 1 December deadline. This deal would allow CEU to permanently operate as a free and independent academic institution in Budapest.
An attack on CEU is an attack on academic freedom, rule of law, the jobs of 1,500 faculty and staff members, and the democratic values upon which Europe has been built. Orbán's assaults on free and critical thought did not start with CEU. And they will not end with CEU.
Manfred Weber, European People's Party (EPP) group leader in the European Parliament, has publicly stated that Orbán crosses a red line if he forces CEU out of Hungary. EPP, with the 1 December deadline approaching fast, where is your red line?
This week, the EPP Congress will meet in Helsinki. Stand with CEU and fight for academic freedom in Hungary and beyond, and call on the EPP to pressure Orbán to sign the deal.
Stand up to Fidesz. Stand for academic freedom in Europe. Stand with CEU.
We, the undersigned, demand that the European People’s Party:
enforces their core values of freedom and democracy among its member parties;
pressures Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party to uphold academic freedom in Hungary; and
pushes the Hungarian government to sign the deal that allows CEU to keep operating in Budapest as a free and independent institution.