Jean-Claude Juncker – EU chief to meet George Soros to discuss Hungary legal action | Politics | News

The EU Commission chief will host the billionaire financier in Brussels as part of eurocrats’ preparations to take Budapest to court over a number of alleged breaches of EU law. 

Brussels has been enraged by the actions of firebrand prime minister Viktor Orban, who has passed a new law in an attempt to close a university backed by Mr Soros. 

The Hungarian PM has cast the institution as an ‘enemy within’ and says it is being used by the billionaire to push a liberal pro-EU agenda against his right-wing government. 

But EU officials have insisted his new legal crackdown, which would require foreign-accredited universities to have a campus in their home country, is illegal under Brussels rules. 

The Central European University, set up by Mr Soros in 1991, is technically registered in America but operates exclusively in Eastern Europe, meaning it would fall foul of the new change. 

Earlier this month the EU’s College of Commissioners met to discuss the situation in Hungary and agreed to take forward a number of legal proceedings against Budapest. 

EU officials are now set to conduct a “swift” legal assessment of the Higher Education Act, so that it can “decide on next steps in the next infringement cycle”.

Other causes for concern are Hungary’s treatment of migrants and refugees, and its policy of placing them in camps at its border, and a new consultation launched by Mr Orban called “Let’s stop Brussels!”. 

In a statement, EU Commission officials said: “Recent developments in Hungary which have widely raised concerns about compatibility with EU law and the common values on which the Union is based.

“Taken cumulatively, the overall situation in Hungary is a cause of concern for the Commission.” 

Mr Soros will travel to Brussels next Thursday when he will hold meetings with a number of high ranking officials, including Mr Juncker and Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans. 

A Commission spokeswoman refused to be drawn on the exact agenda of the trip but said EU officials would discuss “political developments” with the billionaire. 

She also mentioned the College of Commissioners’ findings and said Mr Soros and Mr Juncker “will have the opportunity to discuss this”. 

However, she did not say whether or not the pair would answer questions from journalists after or whether the Commission would issue a statement outlining the main points from the meeting. 

Mr Soros is a highly controversial figure within Europe and especially in his homeland Hungary, where he is accused by right-wing leaders of trying to manipulate the country’s politics and undermine the government. 

In a speech in February, Mr Orban said likened the billionaire to a “large-bodied predator swimming in the waters” and said of his network of universities and NGOs: “This is the transborder empire of George Soros, with heaps of money and international heavy artillery. They are trying secretly and with foreign money to influence Hungarian…

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