“The Washington Post neglected a number of important questions and details in its article last week on the ‘ousting’ of the Central European University (CEU) from Hungary”, State Secretary for International Communications and Relations Zoltán Kovács from the Prime Minister’s Office underlined in a letter to the editor published in Wednesday’s edition of the American daily.

In an editorial entitled “A dark day for Hungary”, the paper wrote: Following the regime change, the CEU propagated openness and the rule of law in Hungary, which is now a member of NATO and the European Union. The school, founded and financed by George Soros, became a respected institution, but it has now become a casualty of a new Iron Curtain falling across the democratic world, led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, an “autocratic nationalist” who has vilified Mr. Soros and waged a long campaign to oust CEU from Budapest, the paper wrote with relation to the CEU’s statement that same day according to which it will be transferring some of its courses to Vienna. According to the article published last week, it was also a sad day for American diplomacy, which has traditionally supported democratic value, but these days only does so as an occasional afterthought. U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David B. Cornstein initially tried to push Hungary for a compromise, but Mr. Orbán rebuffed his efforts, at which point the Ambassador obtusely described the conflict as little more than a grudge match between the Hungarian Prime Minister and George Soros, the article stated.

In his letter, Mr. Kovács writes: For instance, The Washington Post disregarded the fact that  the CEU continues to operate and award degrees in Hungary through its locally registered affiliate, the Kozep-europai Egyetem, so it can hardly be stated that it has been “ousted” from Hungary. U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David B. Cornstein was precisely right when he said, “It doesn’t have anything to do with academic freedom.”, he added.

“How can Central European University award diplomas from the United States when CEU does not deliver accredited degrees in the United States?”, Mr. Kovács also asks. The CEU does not operate a real campus or deliver graduate degrees at Bard College in New York, as some claim. This is why it cannot continue to operate in Hungary as some kind of “offshore university”, he writes.

And there is another detail the editorial overlooked, according to the State Secretary: Hungary’s law has affected dozens of foreign institutions of higher education operating in Hungary, but most of them, including McDaniel College in Maryland, had no problem complying.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)