Michael Ignatieff-led university 'forced out' of Hungary

Central European University — run by former Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff — has confirmed it will move its U.S.-accredited degree programs from the Hungarian capital of Budapest to Vienna as of September 2019 after Hungary's government refused to sign an agreement allowing it to stay.

U.S. billionaire George Soros has been in disagreement with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Demonstrators hold posters April 9, 2017, to protest efforts to close Central European University, as part of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's plan to transform Hungary in Budapest. CEU says it will move its U.S.-accredited programs from Hungary to Vienna because of uncertainty over its academic freedom. (The Associated Press)

Central European University — run by former Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff —  has confirmed it will move its U.S.-accredited degree programs from the Hungarian capital of Budapest to Vienna as of September 2019 after Hungary's government refused to sign an agreement allowing it to stay.

Ignatieff, CEU president and rector, said Monday the university "has been forced out."

"This is unprecedented. A U.S. institution has been driven out of a country that is a NATO ally. A European institution has been ousted from a member state of the EU. "

CEU's ouster is part of populist, anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ideological battle against Hungarian-American financier and CEU founder George Soros and his "open society" model.

The university said it would retain "accreditation as a Hungarian university and ... continue teaching and research activity in Budapest as long as possible."

With files from the CBC