The George Soros-founded Central European University has been kicked out of Hungary, the university said Monday.
The Budapest school’s ousting marks another step toward autocracy in Hungary and the region. It’s the first time a school has been forced out of a European Union-member country. The right-wing Hungarian government has targeted the university for the last two years.
Founded in 1991 by Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the school is being moved to Vienna. The university’s ouster follows the May decision by Soros’ nonprofit to move to Berlin from Budapest, birthplace of the wealthy investor and global philanthropist.
The country’s government, under the leadership of the far-right nationalist and anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban, refused to acknowledge an agreement that would allow the school to continue accepting new students, the Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, Orban has accused Soros of encouraging immigration into Europe, which Soros has denied, according to Reuters.
CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff called the move an “unprecedented” act against an American university, the Associated Press reported. In the statement, Ignatieff called the forced removal “a flagrant violation of academic freedom,” adding, “It is a dark day for Europe and a dark day for Hungary.”
The university will retain accreditation and aims to continue providing opportunities for teaching and research in Budapest “as long as it’s possible,” the statement said.