ODIHR Director Link expresses grave concern over the passage of amendments to Hungary’s higher education law, calls for maintaining co-operation in the field of education in the spirit of the Helsinki Final Act
WARSAW, 5 April 2017 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today expressed grave concern over elements of amendments adopted to Hungary’s higher education law that could have a serious negative affect on the ability of the Central European University in Budapest to operate.
“The legislation passed by the parliament on first reading on Tuesday threatens the operation and autonomy of the Central European University,” said Director Link. “I call on Hungary to reconsider the adoption of these amendments, while ensuring an open and democratic consultation process with all interested parties and civil society in the spirit of the Helsinki Final Act.”
The amendments to Hungarian legislation require foreign universities to have campuses both in Hungary and in their home countries. They also prohibit universities from outside the European Union from granting Hungarian diplomas without an agreement between national governments, in this case those of Hungary and the United States. The Central European University is currently accredited as an educational institution and authorized to grant degrees both in the United States and Hungary.
OSCE participating States recognized in the Helsinki Final Act (1975) that increased educational exchanges contribute to the strengthening of peace and understanding among peoples, and expressly committed themselves to expanding and improving co-operation and links in the field of education. In Madrid, in 1983, they also committed themselves to “promoting the establishment of governmental and non-governmental arrangements and agreements in education and science, to be carried out with the participation of educational or other competent institutions.”