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28th September, 2018

Ignatieff: CEU needs deal by December

If there is no agreement on the CEU law by the middle of December, the university cannot legally admit students in January, Central European University rector Michael Ignatieff told a forum in Brussels on Thursday.

He said he had lobbied in Brussels in vain and had no success, HVG reports.

The Science Business website quotes him as saying “I spend a lot of time [in Brussels] trying to get people to push a button that will make a difference to my university. I get a lot of blah, blah and not enough button pushing. People are watching this bulldozer [Orbán] slowly take out pillars of Hungarian democracy.”

He said he welcomed the approval of the Sargentini report, but action is necessary. “The divide between the blah, blah, blah and the lack of action is slowly destroying us. It’s time to stop giving little speeches about the bulldozer”.

Ignatieff said he fantasises about a phone call that makes all the difference. “Eventually, there’s a phone call. A big leader – Merkel or Macron – picks up the phone and calls the Poles and the Hungarians. They say, ‘We’re working on this budget, and the number we have for you is four. If we don’t get something back from you, it’s going to fall to two. And then one. You have 48 hours’.”

He added “It’s taken me a while to realise Europe doesn’t operate that way”.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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