VILNIUS - The Hungarian government has pledged to make a donation to the European Humanities University in Vilnius, an institution that was forced out of Belarus by that country's authoritarian president, Aleksander Luka-shenko, in 2004.
During his one-day visit to Vilnius Nov. 20, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany delivered an address at the university in which he announced that Hungary would allocate 172,640 litas (50,000 euros) to the institution for the 2007 - 2008 academic year.
Hungary is the first of Vyshegrad group countries and the first Central European country to announce the intention of financially endorsing the EHU, where about 1,500 students from Belarus currently study.
Gyurcsany also met with President Adamkus, Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Muntianas, and Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas while in the Lithuanian capital. Later on, Gyurcsany laid a wreath at the January 13 Memorial at the Antakalnis Cemetery.
In referring to the European Neighborhood Policy, Adamkus mentioned that decisions adopted by Lithuania should not isolate the people of Belarus. He said that Lithuania was ready, according to its capacity, to contribute to raising civil awareness and strengthening civil society in this neighboring country, according to a Nov. 20 press release from the president's office.
The EHU was established in Belarus in 1992 and operated as a private university until its license was withdrawn.
Efforts made by the European Commission, European and US governments, organizations and private sponsors helped the EHU renew its operation in Vilnius in 2005, and it was granted the status of Lithuanian university in 2006.
The EHU is known for its progressive ideas and pro-Western way of thinking.