Christopher Ball says that Orbán’s attack on CEU is anti-American

Professor Christopher Ball teaches at the Business School of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. In 2013 he was handpicked by then Hungarian Ambassador György Szapáry, an Orbán confidant, to serve as Honorary Consul.

Prof. Christopher Ball (left) with ex-Ambassador György Szapáry.

Professor Ball, Director of the Central European Institute and István Széchenyi Chair in International Economics, lived in Hungary for a couple of years but does not speak the language.

“My initial reaction when asked to accept the position was, ‘But I’m not Hungarian!'” Ball said. “I am a proud American and have no ethnic connection to Hungary. Once they explained that an honorary consul is precisely someone who is a non-Hungarian but helps Hungary and Hungarians and promotes relations between the countries, then I was much more interested. When they explained that this was in many ways recognizing my work for many years, I was honestly honored. I still am.”

Remarkably, given Quinnipiac close relations with the Orbán government, Professor Ball has recently spoken out against the campaign against the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. Professor Ball explained that the actions against CEU are widely perceived as anti-American and hurt Hungary’s relations with the U.S.

Just a reminder. In April 2017 the ruling Fidesz party voted in a bill that has become known as Lex CEU. The bill would effectively shut down the US-accredited CEU that has operated in Budapest for decades. The Orbán government calls the university a “breeding ground for liberals.” The government also vilifies George Soros, Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, US billionaire and CEU’s founder.

As Ball explains these government actions have backfired.

Hungary is running out of time; Lex CEU should have been withdrawn months ago. As Mr. Ball correctly notes, the US administration perceives it as an attack on an American university; it is simply anti-American.

György Lázár

Click here to watch the interview.

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