December 17, 2018

Menendez Condemns Decision to Force Central European University out of Hungary

“These don’t appear to be the actions of a NATO ally committed to the democratic values and rule of law principles undergirding the alliance.”

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement on the deteriorating relationship with the government of Hungary after the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban forced the U.S.-accredited Central European University to cease operations in Hungary.

“I am very disappointed that the Central European University (CEU), an emblem of Hungary’s post-communist freedoms, is being forced to close its operations in Budapest.  Responsibility for CEU’s departure rests with the Hungarian government, which passed a law last year targeting foreign academic institutions like CEU and has since proved unwilling to conclude a new memorandum of understanding that would enable CEU to stay in Budapest. 

“In the six months since Secretary Pompeo met with Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto in Washington, I have been concerned about several Hungarian government decisions.  The Hungarian government recently refused to extradite to the United States two Russians wanted for selling arms to drug cartels.   Instead the two were extradited to Moscow.   The Orban government passed a new law further restricting freedom of assembly and brought criminal charges against an investigative journalist for his work.  It also recently provided asylum to former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, a fugitive felon.  Now, they are shutting down the CEU.  These don’t appear to be the actions of a NATO ally committed to the democratic values and rule of law principles undergirding the alliance. I remain concerned about what these actions mean for our relationship moving forward.”

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