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techkenyot.com June 21, 2018


Soros NGO to close Hungary office over law targeting its efforts

15 May 2018, 07:21 | Glen Norman

Poland's Prime Minister Morawiecki meets his Hungarian counterpart Orban in Warsaw Thomson Reuters

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki meets his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Warsaw Poland

"Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are moving their Budapest-based global operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin", the network confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. "It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference".

A senior minister in Orban's new government said on Monday that Hungary would tighten the bill on non-government groups following the ruling party's big election victory last month, a move likely to dismay the European Union and rights groups.

Earlier this year, citing national security concerns, his government announced a so-called "Stop Soros" package of laws aimed at tightening rules for NGOs receiving funding from overseas.

The government did not comment immediately on the decision.

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The foundation supports and funds democracy and civil society initiatives in more than 100 countries worldwide.

These usually have a strong human rights component, which have made him the bogeyman of many nationalist and illiberal governments.

The OSF pledged to continue supporting civil society groups in Hungary, including work on arts, media freedom, transparency, education and health care.

On Monday, Antal Rogan, the minister for Orban's cabinet office, said the government would propose a "tighter" Stop Soros bill without providing any details.

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"The so-called Stop Soros package of laws is only the latest in a series of such attempts".

Orban and Soros have clashed over the 2015 European migration crisis.

A major foundation funded by liberal philanthropist George Soros is closing its regional headquarters in Hungary, due to what it calls "an increasingly repressive political and legal environment" under prime minister Viktor Orban.

Another term for Orban could also have implications for Soros's Central European University, a graduate school which is considered by the government a foreign institution.

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