Hungarian top court says no to referendum on Fudan University campus

There will not be a referendum on Fudan University, the Hungarian Constitutional Court informed in a statement posted on its official site.

The Hungarian Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that the earlier decisions of the Curia (Hungarian Supreme Court) approving referendum initiative on a planned campus of Shanghai-based Fudan University in Budapest was "unconstitutional."

There will not be a referendum on Fudan University, the court informed in a statement posted on its official site.

According to the statement, the board declared unconstitutional and overturned two referendum questions: holding a referendum in the case of Fudan University would go against international treaties, and a national referendum on the extension of jobseekers allowances is impossible because it would have an impact on the country's budget.

"The law attempted to be annulled by the referendum is aimed at implementing an international treaty with the People's Republic of China. According to the Constitutional Court, the amendment or repeal of a law directly related to the fulfillment of obligations under an international treaty is not subject to a referendum under the Basic Law," the top court said.

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony announced last July that he would initiate a referendum on five issues. Two of them were certified in late August by the National Electoral Commission, the ones on Fudan University and the jobseeker's allowances. The Curia granted its approval to these two referendum questions in last December. The Curia's rulings were appealed to the Constitutional Court in January.

The Budapest city leadership is opposed to the government's plans to build a large campus of the Chinese university, because it says that the project will take space and resources away from Hungarian students.

In December 2019, Fudan University signed a memorandum with Hungary's Ministry for Innovation and Technology on setting up the campus in Budapest.

In 2020, the Orban government announced that Fudan University would open its first European campus in Budapest in 2024.

The campus will be open for application from students worldwide and graduates will be awarded a Hungarian degree, a Chinese degree or a Chinese-Hungarian dual degree.

Established in 1905 as Fudan Public School, Fudan University is one of China's top universities.

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