Hungary’s government won’t amend a controversial law targeting foreign-funded colleges, a senior official said in response to European Union demands.
The European Commission gave Hungary one month to address its concerns in order to head off a lawsuit into allegedly breaching the bloc’s rules, including the freedom of providing services and the freedom of establishment. The deadline expires this week.
“The essence of our response is that the European Commission failed to come up with a single argument which would warrant us changing the law,” Janos Lazar, the minister in charge of the prime minister’s office told reporters in Budapest on Thursday. The commission may now issue a final warning before starting a lawsuit at the EU court.
In addition to concerns expressed by the EU executive, the European Parliament last week separately approved a resolution saying Hungary poses a “clear risk of serious breach” of the rule of law and called for the start of a procedure that may end with the suspension of the eastern European country’s voting rights in the trading bloc. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has openly called for an end to liberal democracy in Hungary since 2014, citing Russia and Turkey among models to follow.
The recent amendment to the higher education law introduced new criteria for universities operating in Hungary, including maintaining a campus in their home countries. Central European University, founded by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, has said the law is targeted at CEU and aimed at shutting it down.
Orban, one of the staunchest opponents of immigration in Europe, regularly accuses…