Hungary approved a new law in a fast-track procedure on Tuesday that could force a university founded by financier George Soros out of the country despite a protest against the plan in Budapest and condemnation abroad.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a staunch critic of liberal civil organizations funded by Soros, said on Friday the Central European University had violated regulations in awarding its diplomas, an allegation the college firmly rejected.
The law, which the government says is designed to address administrative shortcomings of foreign universities, marks the next chapter of a clampdown on independent institutions.
Lawmakers passed the legislation with 123 votes in favor and 38 against, while 38 deputies did not vote. Voting was briefly interrupted by the sound of a siren blaring from a megaphone held up by an independent lawmaker in protest.
Orban’s human affairs minister said institutions backed by Soros were trying to undermine Hungary’s government.
“The organizations of George Soros operating in Hungary and around the world are just such pseudo-civilian agents and we are committed to stamping out such activity with all available legal means,” Zoltan Balog said.