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Joint support statement for Central European University (CEU)

07 April 2017

The University Council and Board of the University of Groningen (UG) strongly regret the passage of legislation by the Hungarian Parliament amending the country’s Education Law.

Irrespective of earlier calls by the European University Association (EUA) to refrain from curtailing the critical independence of universities, these legislative changes allow for political interference in the autonomy and academic freedom of Central European University (CEU). Standing together with our colleagues in the Coimbra Group of universities (CG) and the Association of universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the UG wholeheartedly supported these petitions. As the EUA has stated in reaction to a wider crackdown on academics by governments elsewhere: ‘Critical thinking and independent judgement form the backbone of university activities, and freedom from political intervention and pressure is a condition sine qua non in enabling them to fulfil their role.’ The governing Board and Council of the UG are deeply concerned about these developments. In a recent letter by our umbrella organization, the Guild of European research-intensive universities, we have advised minister Balog that it is ‘in the interest of Hungary’s ability to attract and retain outstanding students, and Hungary’s ability to attract the excellent researchers, that the proposed legislation be withdrawn.’ A further statement in support of CEU was issued by our Faculty of Philosophy. The UG expresses its strong wish to see the CEU be allowed to continue its excellent research and education in Hungary and elsewhere.

Last modified:12 March 2020 9.32 p.m.
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