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Soros Scores Legal Win Over Hungary's Orban After Central European University Ruling

© AFP 2023 / ERIC PIERMONT Hungarian-born US chairman of the Soros Fund Management, George Soros
Hungarian-born US chairman of the Soros Fund Management, George Soros - Sputnik International
BRUSSELS (Sputnik), Luc Rivet - George Soros and his allies in the European parliament are currently celebrating a victory at the European Court of Human Rights against Hungary and its Prime Minister Viktor Orban after the ruling that the country's law that forced its Central European University out of Hungary contradicts the EU law.

This is only the latest of attacks on the Eastern European country and its leader mounted by Europe's various leftist parties and EU institutions in their ongoing crusade against the so-called illiberal states, which is how they describe Christian right-of-centre governments of countries such as Poland and Hungary.

Soros Wins in Court

Over the years, the relationship between Orban and Soros has been fraught with mutual hostility, if not outright hatred.

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Once fellow-travellers in their struggle against the country's communist regime, two Hungarian natives have grown apart over the years, with Soros financing a wide range of left-wing causes, such as unrestrained immigration and libertine social mores, which according to Orban, serve to undermine the country's national tradition and the Christian way of life.

In 2017, Orban made his move against the crown jewel of Soros' empire - the Central European University (CEU), with the Hungarian government coming up with an amendment to the higher education law that links operations of any foreign university in Hungary to a bilateral agreement with its country of origin as well as demands providing similar education in a home country, which was not how the CEU operated at the time. That forced the CEU to relocate to Vienna.

The European Court of Justice, however, ruled on Tuesday, that "the conditions introduced by Hungary to enable foreign higher education institutions to carry out their activities in its territory are incompatible with EU law".

"A victory for the fundamental values of the European Union", Soros claimed as quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

At the same time, he did concede that the decision had come too late and the CEU would not return to Hungary.

Speaking to the MTI news agency, Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga, confirmed that Hungary will comply with the decision, adding that most of foreign higher education institutions have not been hampered by the law.

"At the end of the day, the appropriate functioning of higher education institutions is the pledge of trust in a country's education system and of the reputation of its higher education, while the degree issued by it is an embodiment thereof. We don’t need PO box universities", Varga said.

Orban: Leftwing Bogeyman

On 12 September 2018, the Left and Center-Left parties in the European Parliament voted for action against Hungary, triggering European countries to use Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which suspends a member state's right to vote. The move did not amount to much but its symbolism cannot be overestimated.

The parliament accused the Orban government of undermining the basic values of the European Union, including independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and rights of minorities.

When the COVID-19 pandemic took place, the country's parliament voted to give Orban emergency powers, provoking outrage across the EU, despite its member countries taking quite drastic measures themselves.

The charge against Orban was led by the European Council President Ursula von der Leyen who threatened Budapest with legal action.

"The European Commission, like the majority of the European Parliament, is fixated on Orban. Actually, the Hungarian Parliament is not the only European Parliament to have increased the powers of the Executive to fight against the pandemic: it is also the case of the French Parliament which voted a 'state of health emergency', of the Italian, Spanish and Belgian parliaments as well, giving special powers to their acting government", Gilles Lebreton, a European lawmaker from the French National Rally party, told Sputnik, calling the ongoing hounding of Orban "as boring as it is ridiculous".

Soros as 28th Europan Commissioner

As Orban is treated as a pariah by the European Union leadership, Soros enjoys a warm welcome in the European halls of power.

According to a report by Soros' Open Society Foundation titled "Reliable allies in the European Parliament", there have been 226 members of the European parliament designated as allies that can be trusted by the foundation between 2014 and 2019.

Soros' influence extends not only to EU lawmakers but to other institutions as well.

"George Soros could even be considered, as the 28th European Commissioner; his lobbyists form the most formidable task force exerting influence on the European Commission decisions", Jerome Riviere, European lawmaker from the French National Rally party, said.

As the Hungarian newspaper Magyar Idok reported, Soros personally had more than twenty meetings with the European commissioners during Jean-Claude Juncker’s tenure as the president.

With so many allies in high places, Soros enjoys an enormous influence in Europe with only a handful of countries resisting his influence, Hungary being the first among them. As both Orban and Soros are not the persons who easily give up when the going gets tough, the struggle between them is likely to carry on for a long time, possibly deciding the way the continent's fate in the process.

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