George (György) Schöpflin, a Member of the European Parliament attacks CEU

Years ago George Schöpflin applied for a position at the Central European University (CEU) and was rejected. He didn’t get the job, and now he is attacking CEU by claiming that the university is illegitimate because it issues American diplomas without “American academic oversight.”

77 year old George (György) Schöpflin is a confidante of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and a cheerleader for “illiberalism.”

Schöpflin was born in 1939 to a prominent Hungarian family. His grandfather, Aladár Schöpflin a progressive writer who published several novels was best known as a literary critic and historian. Schöplin’s father Gyula was also a writer, a Socialist who joined the illegal Communist movement during the Horthy regime and spent some time in jail. In 1948 Hungary’s Communist government made him an ambassador to Scandinavia. In 1950 he moved to Great Britain with his family; little George was 11 years old at the time.

György Schöpflin

Schöpflin became a lecturer at University College London, and after his retirement in 2004, 54 years away from his birth country, he joined Orbán. He is a trusted and well-paid political workhorse.

Schöpflin often gives bizarre interviews and makes theatrical statements. In a recent interview with Deutsche Welle (DW) Schöpflin attacked CEU as an illegitimate university. As a response László Bruszt a Professor at CEU published an open letter…

György Lázár

To Fidesz MP György Schöpflin

Dear György,

Since the start of the attack against the Central European University by your party, I have read many unapologetic lies about Lex CEU. Yours, in the interview you gave to DW is, however, unbeatable. In this interview, you dare to say that CEU “enjoys a privileged position in as much as it grants both Hungarian and American diplomas, but without its having an American mother university, hence American academic oversight. The higher education law is about regulating this.”

If I would not have known that you at one point applied, without success, for a leading professorial position at CEU, I could think that you were just mislead. But I have strong reasons to believe that, when you applied to CEU, you knew it holds an absolute charter from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, for and on behalf of the New York State Education Department, and it is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. To say that it has no American oversight as a justification for Lex CEU is like suggesting that universities like Columbia University or the NYU, having the same Middle States’ accreditation are out of control, and therefore in need of Mr. Orbán’s helping hand.

I wonder whether you still have time to read the Hungarian newspapers run by your party but I, a masochist as ever, read them nearly daily. Your PM gives a more down-to-earth justification for Lex CEU in them. Mr. Orbán, never calling CEU by its own name, talks about the “Soros University” nearly always as part of a litany about the Soros conspiracy against Hungarian national interests. Mr Orbàn never ceases to mention his readiness to defend the nation (aka the leading role of FIDESZ in the Hungarian state) from the Gillen of Hungary and from his institutions.

I am sure you have never heard about these statements of Mr. Orbán, nor about the even more open mentioning of these justifications in the media controlled by him.

László Bruszt
Central European University

László Bruszt

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