Kaptur statement on new Hungarian laws impacting University and civic society

April 27, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), a co-chair of the Congressional Hungarian Caucus released the following statement after news Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently passed legislation that could shut down the Central European University, which was created after the fall of communism and promotes the ideal of an open society. Next month, the Hungarian Parliament will vote on a bill that would impose greater scrutiny on nonprofit organizations that receive foreign financing.

“I respectfully urge President Trump to express to President Viktor Orbán of Hungary to stop the closing of the Hungarian Central European University and withdraw the law that seeks to stigmatize civic organizations. Hungary at its best stands for learning and a deep concern about culture, hard work, and a stubborn commitment to independence for all. The proposed legislation would weaken voluntary associations, higher education, and a free press, and are not in this tradition.

“My district and my life have been influenced deeply by the values, ethics, and influences of people of Hungarian ancestry. Twice in the last century, Hungarian resistance against communist and fascist oppression inspired the world – the Nazis and the Soviets sought to suppress forever the voice of citizens in a free society. Both used division, scapegoating and suspicion to divide Hungarians. These forces of tyranny were driven out by brave Hungarians, together with the freedom-loving people of the United States and our allies.

“Now, inspired and supported by the Russian oligarchy of Vladimir Putin, we are seeing anti-democratic interference being perpetrated in countries all over the world. Hungarians are being agitated to fear Brussels. The campaign of fear and falsehoods emanates from Moscow. The free world need not stand by and let this happen. Freedom of expression, vigorous exercise of a free press, and higher education are hallmarks of that liberty, not subjection.”