Chinese campus signals Orbán’s tilt towards Beijing

Hungary is to host the only Chinese university operating inside the European Union in a sign of deepening ties between the government of Viktor Orbán and Beijing, writes Valerie Hopkins for the Financial Times.

The Hungarian government will donate €2.2 million (US$2.7 million) to the Shanghai-based Fudan University for its new Budapest campus, which the authorities said would start operating in 2024. The announcement comes a year and a half after Central European University, founded by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros and previously the top-ranked institution in the country, was forced into exile by Orbán’s nationalist regime, after almost 30 years in the Hungarian capital.

Agnes Szunomár, a researcher at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, said the government’s accord with Fudan “is about unconditional love” between Hungary and China. “Quite a lot of countries in Europe have different agreements with Chinese universities, and many European universities collaborate with Chinese counterparts,” Szunomár said. However, she added that the agreement to bring Fudan to Budapest was evidence that Hungary is willing to undercut its own education system by bringing in a foreign competitor with greater global prestige and more resources than any domestic institution.
Full report on the Financial Times site