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Zsolt Enyedi, Laszlo Kontler, Laszlo Bruszt and Andras Bozoki on CEU in Budapest

6 years ago, the Hungarian government submitted Lex CEU, which terminated a decades-old agreement with Central European University. It is also almost 5 years since the university's management announced the move to Vienna. The crew of Szabad Europa discovered what is left in Budapest, what the Vienna campus looks like and what is happening there. They also examined what Hungarian higher education has gained and lost with the law. 

“Hungary became the first county in the European Union in which a university has been sent to exile,” said our Co-Director Laszlo Bruszt.

“It is our ambition to maintain some kind of vibe here, in Nador utca, although it is a sad sight and experience to enter these beautiful buildings, but I consider it my personal task to fill them with some kind of life,” said our Research Affiliate Laszlo Kontler, CEU’s Pro-Rector for Budapest and KEE.

Budapest “has lost a lot: collaborations with Hungarian universities, colleagues, the possibility of joint international grant applications. (…) And of course, CEU was very strongly attached to Central Europe and Eastern Europe,” our Research Affiliate Andras Bozoki argued.

Our Senior Research Fellow Zsolt Enyedi talked about the library in Budapest, and about the Invisible University for Ukraine program. Laszlo Kontler explained why the library opened its doors to Hungarian students and researchers, how CEU offered facilities to Free SZFE, and about the CEU Democracy Institute.

The DI “implements the research program that has been pursued by CEU for 30 years,” he said. “ We thought that there was a lot to learn about democracy. What he had previously thought about how democracies stabilize, change or weaken – there is a need to learn a lot about these issues, especially from history and from the experience of other continents,” Laszlo Bruszt added.

“It is part of our quest to do meaningful things here. We cannot do the basics, as a classical university we don’t exist any more in Hungary. (…) In this sense a story ended, and a new story began,” Zsolt Enyedi concluded.

Watch the full report (in Hungarian):

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