Closing down the Central European University is not an objective of the Government, there would be no reason for that. With the widely disputed amendment of the higher education legislation, the Government would merely like to find a solution to certain issues, Minister of State for Education László Palkovics said in Brussels on Tuesday.

The news reports released in the press which are capable of inducing negative emotions do not reflect reality as the Government does not wish to close down any university, either Hungarian or foreign. The goal is merely to clarify the situation, Mr Palkovics stressed at his international press conference, adding: “this case is not really a case”.

“Not only has no university been closed down in Hungary, but with the development of the community college model, there are higher education training programmes in six new locations at present”, the Minister of State said.

According to Mr Palkovics, the issue must be divided into two parts as there are two institutions in existence in connection with the CEU. He pointed out that the amendment has no bearing of any kind on Közép-európai Egyetem as it is a university registered in Hungary which has Hungarian accreditation. The Central European University which has US accreditation is, however, registered in the United States where it is not engaged in any educational or research activities.

He explained in answer to a question what impact the amendments will have on the operation of the US institution and the cooperation of the two universities. As he said, he sincerely hopes that the institutions which offer similar training programmes or are planning to launch such training programmes in the future will be able to meet the two newly introduced conditions.

He highlighted that even if the CEU were unable to meet the conditions laid down in the legislative amendment, it does not mean that it cannot continue its activities in the country in some other form, in cooperation with the university Közép-európai Egyetem registered in Hungary.

The Government wishes to inform its partners that it is ready to engage in talks, and is fully open to finding a solution to the problem, and so there is no reason for concern, he said.

In answer to a journalist’s question, Mr Palkovics said that the participants of the demonstrations against the amendment of the law were misled as the information to the effect that the Government seeks to restrict the autonomy of universities or is planning to close down institutions is not true.

The Minister of State for Education at the Ministry of Human Capacities will meet with Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission and Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, among others, on Tuesday in Brussels.

The College of Commissioners will deal with “topical Hungarian issues” at its meeting to be held on Wednesday, including the legislation concerning the CEU, in order to determine whether it is in harmony with EU law.