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Hungarian higher education law: requirements for already operating universities “highly problematic” say Venice Commission experts

Venice Commission Strasbourg 11 August 2017
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Hungarian higher education law: requirements for already operating universities “highly problematic” say Venice Commission experts

In a preliminary opinion issued today, the Council of Europe’s legal experts of the Venice Commission note that in general the regulations of Hungary’s higher education law are in line with usual European practice but criticise that many requirements of the law are overly stringent or even unjustified if applied to already existing universities.  

The Venice Commission does acknowledge the right of a state to regulate foreign universities on its territory, especially in the absence of unified European norms or models in the field, and that it is up to Hungarian authorities to assess when and whether this framework needs to be updated and adapted to new challenges.

But while the new regulatory framework introduced by the law may be applied legitimately to foreign universities which are not yet active in the Hungary, it is not the same case for those already existing.

The Venice Commission opinion – based on visits and consultations in Hungary – first determined that the law was adopted under an excessively expedited process that did not allow for a transparent and inclusive legislative procedure that would have offered appropriate opportunities for consultations with all concerned parties, and which would have been beneficial to the law’s democratic legitimacy.  


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