Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A university founded by billionaire George Soros is being forced out of Hungary by Prime Minister Orban Fidesz's ruling party, the school's president said Thursday.
Hungarian officials said they plan to shutter Central European University in Budapest because it lacks an international agreement to operate and doesn't have a location in New York, where the university is accredited.
CEU said it received an international agreement and they opened a New York campus.
Hungarian officials visited the New York campus and verified compliance, said Ignatieff.
The Budapest school, though, is still ordered to close by Dec. 1.
"They do not recognize the activity that we are conducting," Ignatieff said. "We cannot operate legally in Hungary as a free U.S. accredited institution. We are being forced out of the country that has been our home for 26 years."
Fidesz and his party have run campaigns against Soros, saying the billionaire philanthropist's so-called "Soros plan" seeks to erase national identities and increase migration into Europe. Fidesz's "Stop Soros" campaign helped propel him to Hungarian Parliament this year, with a two-third majority.
Ignatieff said there's a last-ditch effort to resolve the matter with the Hungarian government.
"Even at this late hour we are still seeking a solution that allows us to remain in Budapest," he said.
If no agreement is reached, CEU said it will continue offering public education forums and other functions, won't be able to offer degree programs.
"This is our home. If the government thinks they can get rid of CEU they've got another thing coming," Ignatieff said. "We want to stay here."
Hungarian Ambassador to the United States David Cornstein said in a statement Thursday he's hopeful a solution will be found before the deadline.
"CEU remains a priority of the U.S. government and has overwhelming bipartisan support in the United States," Cornstein said. "I understand CEU position--prolonged uncertainty is not sustainable for an academic institution. There is still a small window to resolve this, but it needs to happen fast."
If no agreement is reached, CEU said it will effectively move the Hungary campus to Vienna, Austria, next September.
Soros, a Hungarian who survived Nazi occupation in World War II, made his money running hedge funds in the United States. He's given away millions to liberal causes and is often the target of conservative conspiracy theories.
Monday, an explosive-like device was sent to Soros' Katonah, N.Y., home. Authorities safely disposed of the item. Similar packages were later sent to high profile Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden.