Soros-Backed University Ends Hungary Era With New Vienna Campus

(Bloomberg) -- A university founded by George Soros that was kicked out of his native Hungary has found a new home in Vienna, marking the culmination of a years-long battle between the billionaire and Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Most Read from Bloomberg

The Central European University has picked a site near Vienna’s main train station for its campus after setting up in a temporary location in the Austrian capital in 2019, according to a letter sent to alumni and seen by Bloomberg.

The shift involves closing down Kozep-europai Egyetem, the eponymous entity registered in Hungary that will see its last students graduating in July. Some research institutes will remain in Budapest.

Orban de facto expelled CEU amid a campaign against its founder and his views. That decision was seen as an example of the erosion of democratic norms under Orban that led to his Fidesz party leaving a group of center-right political parties in Europe in 2021.

Crackdown on Soros-Linked School Was Illegal, EU Court Says

“While these changes are undeniably difficult and disappointing for many of you, they are essential for the University to persist as a beacon of academic freedom,” Carsten Schneider, Pro-Rector for External Relations said in the letter.

CEU’s move to Austria hasn’t always been smooth, with initial plans to move into a historic Art-Nouveau hospital on Vienna’s outskirts scrapped due to spiraling costs.

Construction on the new campus will start in 2025, with plans to move in by the end of 2028, according to the letter.

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.