Soros NGO to close Hungary office over law targeting its efforts

Viktor Orban and Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw

Viktor Orban and Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw

Open Society Foundations will move its global operations in Budapest to Berlin in Germany, according to a press release Tuesday.

"The Hungarian government is wrong and denigrates our work, and also suppresses the activity of civil society for political gain, using tactics that have no precedent in the history of the European Union", - said the President of the Foundation "open society" Patrick Gaspard.

As well as bemoaning "burdensome" transparency requirements on funding from overseas, the group registered its particular anger over measures in the package invoking national security interests, such as rules which would require NGOs working with asylum seekers to be licensed by the government.

The legislation is branded as "Stop Soros" and the Hungarian government warned on Monday that legislative measures may yet become tighter. But it would "pursue all available legal avenues to defend the fundamental rights that are threatened by the [Stop Soros] legislation". Pro-government media recently began publishing false accusations about individual academics, civil society members, and Foundations staff.

"Orban now wants to enact laws that force non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to register with the government". The Hungarian government opposes the Open Society's open immigration policies. The foundation supports and funds democracy and civil society initiatives in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Foundations are taking appropriate steps regarding the safety and well-being of those affected by the office relocation.

Soros is a USA billionaire and philanthropist who was born to a Jewish family in Hungary in 1930. Within its first decade, Open Society funded milk for schoolchildren, brought equipment to hospitals, and helped the country's poorest and most vulnerable.

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