According to information from the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, relayed by Hungarian media, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) of George Soros will close its offices in Hungary this summer to move to Berlin. But this is only a hypothesis at this stage, however says the OSF.
Whether it leave Hungary will depend on the “Stop Soros” law, which Fidesz plans to adopt as soon as the next government is formed, in May.
The new legislation is designed to restrict the philanthropic activities of the Open Society Foundations, including by imposing a 25 percent tax on foreign aid destined for NGOs like the OSF that support migration into Hungary.
The law would also require NGOs to obtain the approval of the Minister of the Interior for the funding of operations related to immigration.
As Fidesz gained a constitutional majority of two-thirds in the legislative election on April 8, it will have no trouble passing seeing the legislation through parliament.
Since entering Hungary in 1984, the OSF has distributed some $400m in the country – including to several senior Fidesz politicians including Viktor Orbán himself, who has spearheaded the campaign of demonising the foundation’s work. The OSF’s donation of photocopiers to critical samizdat publications played a role in the fall of communism.
Even if the organisation decides to move its offices, that would not mean the cessation of its operations in Hungary. A source within the organisation assures the Central European Courier that “there is no question of ceasing to distribute funding to Hungarian NGOs”.
In addition, the University of Central Europe (CEU), founded by George Soros, announced in March that it will open a campus in Vienna in 2019.