The Open Society Foundations of billionaire philanthropist George Soros announced on Tuesday that they would close their offices in Budapest and move to Berlin, as a result, they say, of the increasingly repressive political and legal framework in Hungary.
Hungarian Prime Minister, right-wing nationalist Viktor Orban, accuses George Soros, an American financier of Hungarian origin, of a number of evils and plans to toughen up a so-called “Stop Soros” legislation, directed against NGOs receiving funds from abroad .
“The Hungarian government denigrates and denatures our work and represses civil society, in the name of political profit, by resorting to unprecedented stratagems in the history of the European Union,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the foundations Open Society.
The Open Society Foundations have indicated that they will continue to support the work of the Hungarian civil society associations on issues of human rights, art and culture, freedom of the press, transparency, education and health.
At the same time, the foundations will “use all possible legal means to defend the fundamental rights threatened by the legislation”. The draft law in the Hungarian Parliament would allow the Minister of the Interior to prohibit any NGO active in the field of immigration and which would be considered a “risk to national security”.
It also plans to impose a 25% tax on donations from abroad to NGOs that support migrants. A Hungarian minister said in a parliamentary hearing on Monday that the Orban government would take advantage of its new mandate to toughen the bill to regulate more closely the activities of NGOs.
“We need a tougher proposal than the one currently submitted to parliament,” said Antal Rogan, Minister to the Prime Minister, about the bill, which is one of the bone of contention between Hungary and the EU. West.