Orban vs. Soros: the war continues

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pushed through a bill that critics say is aimed at shutting down a university founded and financed by George Soros, Bloomberg reports.

In his weekly interview on state radio on Friday, Mr. Orban said that Central European University’s status, which allowed it to operate in Hungary while issuing an American degree, gave it an unfair advantage over Hungarian counterparts. He called the way the university operated a “fraud,” adding that “in Hungary, one cannot be above the law — even if you’re a billionaire,” a clear reference to Mr. Soros.

Before coming into legal force, the bill must still be signed by President of the Republic János Áder, who now has one of three options, as Hungary Today suggests: to sign the bill into law as it is, to return it to the Parliament for further deliberation, or to send it to the Constitutional Court of Hungary, which would rule on the underlying constitutionality of the legislation.

The future of the CEU, which does not have a US campus, now “depends on talks between the governments of Hungary and the United States,” Orban said. A statement from the US State Department Friday expressed “concern” about the legislation which reportedly could go before parliament early next week.

Earlier, in February, Viktor Orban attacked Soros in his annual state of the nation speech. “Large-bodied predators are swimming here in the waters. This is the trans-border empire of George Soros, with tons of money and international heavy artillery… It is causing trouble… that they are trying secretly, and with foreign money, to influence Hungarian politics,” Orban said.