Hungary’s loss — Central European University moves to Vienna

On Monday, Central European University announced that new students enrolling starting in September 2019 would begin their studies in Vienna, rather than Budapest, after Hungary’s highest ranked university was forced out of the country by the regime of Viktor Orbán. “CEU 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,” remarked CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff on Monday. For the past 20 months, CEU has tried to negotiate with the Orbán regime and even launched a program in the United States, in order to comply with newly implemented Hungarian legislation. Despite the fact that CEU is accredited and lauded by the US Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the New York State Education Department, as well as by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee, CEU has no option but to leave Hungary and begin recruiting new 2019 students at their new home in Vienna.

Journalists and observers listen to a news conference on Monday at CEU about the university’s forced move to Vienna.

According to the current plan, only already enrolled students will be permitted to complete their studies in Budapest, with most others studying in Austria. The Hungarian economy will feel the hit of CEU’s forced departure. CEU employs 770 staff and faculty members in the Hungarian capital and contributes 25 million euros to the Hungarian economy through payroll deductions and purchases from Hungarian suppliers alone. The impact on the Budapest economy, especially local accommodation, apartment rentals and restaurants will be significant, as the university’s 1,200 students (many foreign) and staff relocate to Austria.

Hungarian publicist Péter S. Föld suggested, not without reason, that forcing CEU to leave Hungary is tantamount to treason. It’s an attack against the Hungarian economy and Budapest’s reputation as a centre of scholarly inquiry. Mr. Föld added that the opposition parties would have had a duty to explain to the average Hungarian, especially in rural areas, why CEU is important to Hungary. The opposition failed miserably in this regard.

Nearly everyone, regardless of political views, who has had experience with higher education understands the magnitude of the loss of CEU–this includes the thousands of Hungarian academics of all stripes from other institutions who have relied on CEU’s superior research facilities for their work. Five CEU programs were ranked among the top university programs in the world in March 2018, including political science, social policy, history, sociology and philosophy.

In its initial reaction to CEU’s announcement, the Hungarian government’s spokesperson, István Hollik, claimed that the university was “bluffing” when it said it is relocating to Vienna, adding that “this is a Soros-type bluff and the government does not wish to concern itself with it.” The 2.5 million Fidesz voters will mostly believe this, as they are oblivious to the outside world. Everyone else, including Hungarian conservatives, will understand what Hungary has just lost.

29 Comments

  1. The CEU is the most shocking example, but the regime has been deconstructing the education system at all levels – from primary to the CEU and MTA (Hun Academy of Science). Ditto it’s the arts and culture.
    This is why dictatorships fail as they stifle free inquiry, learning, creativity, entrepreneurship, development, dragging the country/society down to the levels of the Deutsch, Kosa, Budai, the Ogre, etc etc.

  2. Unfortunately, in the great scheme of things (e.g. the Khashoggi dismemberment, the current dismemberment of America’s commitment to the UN’s Declaration on Universal Human Rights, the massacre of Syrians, Kurds, Yemeni children, or the price of Hungarian salami) the CEU’s relocation from Budapest to Vienna won’t create much of a footprint on Hhumanity’s consciousness. The Donald’s pick as US Ambassador to Hungary, Cornstain (sic) has already washed his dirty hands of this affair – he claims this is just a personal feud between Orbán and Soros, and he, i.e. Trump’s buddy, is now a good friend of Orbán, the latter can do as he wishes, let’s get on with it.

    Hungarians, and anyone who values justice, the rule of law and sustainable economic development can suck a lemon as far as America is concerned. THIS is the real world now. The Ugly American is calling the shots, and Hungarians better get used to it. Cornstain (sic) is the Ugly American’s back channel to Putin and to whatever profits are to be gained for American businesses by this gang of carpetbaggers. Cornstein’s earlier moves were the usual preambles to the enactment of the well known affinity fraud they specialize in. They have no shortage of suckers.

  3. “Five CEU programs were ranked among the top university programs in the world in March 2018, including political science, social policy, history, sociology and philosophy.”

    I am personally against what the Hungarian government did on this. I think they should have let them stay. Having said that, I also think that CEU’s overall quality rankings puts into question just how higher education centers are ranked. A very important factor in my view should be employment potential for graduates. On that, CEU was clearly banking on fields where under-employment is high throughout the Western world. And also in regards to usefulness to society, such institutions should be scored as well. In this regard, consider this:

    https://bbj.hu/analysis/budapest-rated-among-top-european-knowledge-centers_158500

    Now, clearly, those under-rated institutions of higher education are mostly responsible for this achievement, given that CEU does not produce graduates that tend to contribute to IT, Engineering, and other Science R&D and so on. So clearly a huge disconnect!

    • “I am personally against what the Hungarian government did on this”. Can you elaborate what the Hungarian government did on this?

      Otherwise I agree with your statement: “…given that CEU does not produce graduates that tend to contribute to IT, Engineering, and other Science R&D and so on.”. The CEU is nothing but a “janicsarkepzo” (if you are not Hungarian and do not understand that word, just disregard it, the following words explain the context) institution spewing out radical leftist activists who want to embed themselves into the public life and the world’s governments to further shift the general political balance to the left. That’s all.

      • I understand the word and the historical background of that word “janicsarkepzo”. and it fits rather well with the CEU mission.

        But it is not directed against Hungary specifically, but the wider world, as CEU graduates are expected to take their indoctrination with them and spread the ideology throughout the world. And it will continue doing so in Vienna. I think they could have continued in Budapest, and thus Budapest could have continued to reap the economic benefits.

      • Joe W
        Yes, all dictators want to control everything, including what subjects private universities teach.
        On your BS regarding CEU “radical leftist activists” let me remind you there are at least three of them around Orbàn and he himself “studied”on the same George Soros’ money in England, and it was not IT, science or engineering .

    • Reality Check says:

      We been through this bs with Joe before. I already posted info demonstrating that CEU graduates are employable and are very successful. Joe the fake expert on just about everything.

      • You posted some examples. I can give you an example of a middle school dropout who makes way more money that you do as an academic. Yes, he only finished seventh grade, yet he works as a software developer for an IT startup, which looks very promising and he does earn way more than most academics ever will.

        Even an academic should know better than to draw conclusions about how employable a demographic group is, based on some individual examples.

        Yes indeed, we have been through this before!

    • „A very important factor in my view should be employment potential for graduates.“ Joe forgive me but I think you’re an idiot, at least you’re dumb enough not to able to judge that potential. Point

  4. Joe, engineering and the hard sciences didn’t take a massive hit during the communist era, whereas the social sciences did. See also the European University, St. Petersburg. The idea of establishing postgraduate institutions in those fields particularly impacted by Marxism-Leninism was the point, not picking low hanging fruit with regards to employment.

    That being said, in the US graduates in fields like political science have higher median lifetime earnings than those in fields like business. Just because it doesn’t seem obvious doesn’t mean there isn’t value-added. And, regardless, the point of universities is not simply to be trade schools, especially at the postgraduate level.

    As for your link, I am curious how Budapest/Hungary fare when compared to “one city” countries like Estonia. The Berlin comparison is odd, since for the obvious historical reasons Berlin never really developed as a tech/industry hub in the post-war era.

    • 1) Lifetime earnings within our Western Society for the degrees that CEU offers cannot be very high, given that the under-employment rates for those with a degree earned recently in those fields is often astronomical.

      This might be a guide for you:

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/642226/underemployment-rate-of-us-college-graduates-by-major/

      I once got this pitch line myself. It was a history professor. But of course, he graduated in the 1970’s, and many of those who did graduate back then are now professors, because there are now more than 10 x as many students as there were when he went to school, so the number of proffesors increased about 10-fold. So of course that for the likes of him it worked out alright, because he became part of the massive brainwashing machine that these institutions have become. These days, a PhD in History will most likely lead nowhere, with only a select few, often with the right connections getting the prize, with the rest left with a lost decade and often suffocating student debts.

      It has become sort of a pyramid scheme!

      2) I never claimed Hungary was the best in this, simply pointing out it is doing alright, and it is 0% thanks to CEU, but rather due to the people that those under-rated universities prepared. Point of it is to highlight the lack of tangible contribution that CEU provides to society, its prosperity and well-being. I hardly think that churning out globalist agitators is a benefit to society in any way.

      • Reality Check says:

        Maybe Joe should look at CEU stats on how well CEU graduates do instead of posting a link for undergrads in the US.

      • Here’s the data from CEU that Joe was either too lazy to look up or deliberately disregarded. I am sure he will spin it and hope that people don’t double check.

        So here are the relevant numbers.

        Year one followup of CEU gradautes in 2107 (the most recent year with data).

        1) Employed – 78%
        2) Continuing Grad Studies – 11%
        3) Seeking work – 10%
        4) Not seeking and not working – 1%

        Types of Careers
        Business – 45%
        Education & Research – 18%
        International Organizations – 12% (NATO, UN, etc.)
        Foundations & Advocacy Groups – 12%
        Government – 10%
        Other – 3%

        Look at that. Most in high paying jobs. And no astronomical unemployment.

        And only 12% are working for Joe’s dreaded agitator organizations. Joe has kept trying to convince us that most end up in this sector. And who works in that sector? People trying to rescue women from human trafficking. People working to stem the tide of opiate addiction. People working on solving air pollution, etc. All good and important work. So, I count that as one of CEU’s succeses.

        CEU students 1st year placement rates are not astronomically low. As a matter of fact they are fairly high. Most CEU end up in high paying careers (mostly business).

        I would certainly be proud to work at or graduate from CEU. Carreer outcomes stats completely debunk Joe’s assertion that CEU was unjustly given such a high rank or that it creates gradautes with usless degrees.

        https://careers.ceu.edu

        HFP what is value of having this troll constantly post the same debunked nonsense? Let him post his lies once. Let us debunk them. And if tries to post the same lie again, scrub it. After all he is our little Goebbel who knows that if he repeats a lie often enough, people will start to believe it. Don’t let him use this forum to spread his lies.

        • Yes, in the case of CEU, probably big dady makes sure that many are placed in high positions. Otherwise, what is the point of forming these ideological mercenaries?

          But indeed, in the US, Canada, Western Europe, there is a growing problem with university graduates under employment, especially in the fields that CEU specializes in.

          “HFP what is value of having this troll constantly post the same debunked nonsense? Let him post his lies once. Let us debunk them. And if tries to post the same lie again, scrub it”

          You mostly debunk stuff in your own mind. What is the value of debate? Its impossible to have democracy without it!

          “After all he is our little Goebbel who knows that if he repeats a lie often enough, people will start to believe it. Don’t let him use this forum to spread his lies.”

          Its the same way I feel about you, with the difference that I respect your right to parrot your same BS over and over again!

          • Reality Check says:

            “Yes, in the case of CEU, probably big dady makes sure that many are placed in high positions. Otherwise, what is the point of forming these ideological mercenaries?”

            Iditoic troll gets debunked and instead of being a decent person and saying, yes you are right, he comes up with a baseless conspiracy theory. Joe, you are pathetic!

          • I was not going to say anything, but once more you have shown here that your reading comprehension skills are severely lacking. What exactly do you think you debunked?

            I specifically pointed out that CEU offers degrees where under-employment in the Western world tends to be high, which is 100% factual. I also pointed out that on things that can really matter, like R&D, IT, which as I have shown a city like Budapest is competitive in, CEU played no part, since it does not offer the courses that form such specialists.

            I never claimed that CEU graduates specifically have a high rate of under-employment. It would surprise me if they did, given that they are being prepared for a particular purpose, by an institution founded by a man who not long ago announced the transfer of $18 billion to his ideological causes around the world. Not to mention all others who contribute to the cause.

            Seriously, learn to read and comprehend before engaging in a debate.

      • Reality Check
        Thx for the info. Not that facts have any impact on the faithful.

  5. Dare to recommend to everyone to click open the site sent by “JOE”.
    As well start reading the “Budapest Business Journal”.

  6. Bendy goose and Joe

    Thank you for confirming your ignorance, trolls. Instead of reading The Budapest Business Journal, why not read the original study and look behind the numbers ?

    https://www.ecepr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Europes-Brain-Business-Jobs-28.11.2018-1.pdf

    Hungary is in the middle of the field, it is not even among the top 10 in Europe. Here is the ranking.

    Country ranking – The Europe’s Brain Business Jobs 2018 Index

    Rank Country

    1 Switzerland
    2 Sweden
    3 Luxembourg
    4 Netherlands
    5 Great Britain
    6 Denmark
    7 Germany
    8 Ireland
    9 Iceland
    10 Norway

    Brain business jobs are as varied as manufacturing jobs. There are low and high skills in both domains, and one has to look at those jobs in a qualitative rather than quantitative sense, and in terms of the impact of those jobs on the economy’s overall economic productivity and competitiveness, and against the backdrop of the country’s rankings in education. Bucharest has the highest regional ranking in all of Europe. Why ? Because this is where the lowest category of brain business jobs are flocking to, due to the absence of workers’ rights, low wages, and low cost of living.

    Here is the study’s bottom line: “lower wages, combined with the lower costs of living in Eastern and Central European capital regions, have made these regions the hotspots for Brain Business Jobs expansion.”

    According to the latest OECD, EU, and World Economic figures, Hungary’s economic competitiveness, productivity and investment into high-tech education is lower now relative to the rest of Europe than it was when Orbán took over in 2010. It’s fallen behind most of its neighbors in Central Europe as well. I have already provided the figures on these pages a few times. Go back and look’em up dummies, or buy yourself the latest “Economics for Dummies” and entertain your ignorace in the privacy of your toilets.

    • “According to the latest OECD, EU, and World Economic figures, Hungary’s economic competitiveness, productivity and investment into high-tech education is lower now relative to the rest of Europe than it was when Orbán took over in 2010.”

      Yes, but Hungary’s government debt increased from 56% of GDP in 2002, to 82% by 2010. That was why the IMF had to get involved, in addition to the consumer FX bubble. It is easy to splurge based on unsustainable deficits and toxic debt bubbles. Since 2010, Hungary’s debt/GDP declined to about 72% currently and continues to decline every year. In other words, it is sustainable, not a debt bubble.

      Also, gross investment in Hungary is above EU average.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gross_fixed_investment_as_percentage_of_GDP

      Gross investment is not only R&D of course, but it is a useful measure which provides an indication in regards to future productivity prospects.

      Speaking of productivity, in 2015 Hungary was back in 28’th spot globally:

      http://time.com/4621185/worker-productivity-countries/

      I think it has improved since then.

      Given the sorry state that Hungary was left in back in 2010, I think it has done much better than most thought it could.

      And yes, I saw your figures before, referencing 2006-2013 in comparison with other countries. In other words, Hungary’s worst economic period, which is not even attributable to Orban’s policies, but rather the mess the other guys made, and leaving out 2013-present, where Hungary outperformed its regional peer average, which is mostly attributable to current policies. You must have studied “Selective Stats for Dummies”, because you thought you can just get away with it.

    • Andras Gollner, can you provide links to support your off-the-wall statements? And when I say links, I mean reputable organizations not the ones which have vested interest in degrading and bashing the Orban government, aka the left-liberal leftists as yourself or the Hungarian Free Press, which is very biased, and is as ‘free’ as I am the Pope in Rome. Your spewing off hatred against Hungary and the Hungarian government is what it is: a hatred because the heads of you and your cohorts are exploding especially after the third cycle won by PM Orban with 2/3 majority. No matter what biased reports you write, or anyone writes, the electorate spoke in Hungary and you and the left-liberals can not do a darn thing about it. And, thank you very much, Hungary is doing just fine in terms of economy. GDP growth was just 5% in the last quarter. Just for your reference, most years during Obama’s 8-year presidency the GDP growth was at 3% or under 3%, a dismal performance. That is what socialism can do to a powerful country like the US of A. Nuff said.

    • Joe Fidesznik
      – Gross F Investment in Hu reached the 2008 level only last year (and due to record high drawing on the EU cohesion funds).
      – The GFCapital formation however is still much lower that in the pre 2010 period.
      https://tradingeconomics.com/hungary/gross-fixed-capital-formation-percent-of-gdp-wb-data.html
      – Productivity per h worked increased from
      74 to 100 between 2002-2010, and
      100 to 103 in 2010-2017 (with a 2 % jump in 2017?!).
      https://data.oecd.org/lprdty/gdp-per-hour-worked.htm
      – GGDebt compared apples for apples ie. including the sequestered 3000 bil ft pension funds, is just as high as before even with doctored “as of Dec. 31 only” figures.
      Ditto for the budget deficit as the Orban regime stopped contributing ~1% GDP to the pension funds. Actually last year the state ones those were swallowed by the budget which pays now pensions outing gen revenue. Great!
      – Health, education and social stats are bad/worse.

      Hungary is NOT doing well at all and while up to 6%GDP funding by the hated Brussels fueled the econ growth the structure hasn’t improved (except for agriculture).
      I bet that the its downhill from here.

  7. StrandedinSopron says:

    “The impact on the Budapest economy, especially local accommodation, apartment rentals and restaurants will be significant, as the university’s 1,200 students (many foreign) and staff relocate to Austria.”

    CEU is situated in the one of the most prime upcoming tourist areas of Budapest- October 6/Nador Utca. This is a very important fact for the local Fidesz property mafia- they already own quite a lot of the *nightclubs*, restaurants etc in the area. Indeed the wife of Orbanist “Film Supremo” Andy Vajna owns a Doughnut (!) joint there…

    Anyway, CEU started on an enormous building project several years ago for which they were surprisingly given building permit for by one of the main Fidesz godfathers, Anton Rogan (directly or indirectly… nothing happens in the 5th District without his permission). Anybody who knows how his particular gang works in the 5th will probably now guess why this permission was given. There are going to be a lot of very empty buildings now with the Vienna move, just ripe for a buy “offer which can’t be refused”.

    So, true, there will be a lot of nenis unable to rent out their flats (which are generally located further away) but as always with a Fidesz “ideological” decision, there is also a strong “economic” rationale behind the expulsion of CEU

  8. @ Joe W and little Joe

    “Andras Gollner, can you provide links to support your off-the-wall statements? ”

    No I can’t Joe, because my statements are not off the wall, like the one you just posted, but drawn from empirically verifiable sources (eg, official EU, OECD, World Economic Forum, Hungarian Statistical Office, Hungarian Academy of Science studies). I’m not a nameless troll like you, but a member of the academy, who has been accredited on the basis of his consistent commitment to publishing only empirically verifiable data. Dig ?

    Joe W ! My Economics degree is not from Orbán Viktor’s troll farm, but from the London School of Economics. If you promise to behave yourself, and chew your food thoroughly, I may provide a short article in the space above when I have a bit of time. Right now I have more important things to do than play with you down here. I promise to disappoint you. OK ? For now why don’t you just carry on doing what you are good at – chasing your own tale (sic) ?

  9. Váci Klebelsberg Kultúrkör says:

    Good news ! In Vienna will be a hungarian education+diplom as the CEU(only the Hungary based KEE Közép Európai Egyetem) has an educational campus in Budapest. Possibly the austrian educational will also prohibit to distribute US diploms (as e.g. in France,…) This means the CEU follows our one of the greatest king Mathias Corvinus, he established the hungarian diplom in Vienna, when he conqueered it.

  10. It’s unconscionable an educational institution is caught up in Orban’s politicking.

    Hungary had been an intellectual cultural hub & melting pot for centuries, and is now led by a long-in-the tooth figurehead (20 year despot now?), who went from being reasonable (20 years ago), to insisting on an insular existence for Hungarians within Hungary’s borders.

    The only advantage Orban grants Hungarian youth, is money for having kids, while foreign investment in culture and intellectual pursuits must go elsewhere. Fortunately young Hungarians are still EU citizens, and worldly enough to know they don’t have to settle for a crummy future guaranteed by Orban’s severe shortsightedness.

    Trianon and the history of Hungary at the hands of many different invaders should never make Hungarians forget what they have – a bastion of civilization between West and East, in the heart of Central Europe.

    Protecting what’s ‘good, just and beautiful’ should never preclude the worldliness that defined Hungary for centuries. As they say, “when the pendulum swings too far one way, there’s only one direction for it to go”.

  11. Váci your comment belongs to the Vécé.

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