Global

Soros Foundation Leaves Hungary Citing 'Repression' of Civil Society

Soros Foundation Leaves Hungary Citing 'Repression' of Civil Society

"Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are moving their Budapest-based worldwide operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin", the network confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.

The decision to move operations out of Budapest comes as the Hungarian government prepares to impose further restrictions on nongovernmental organizations through what it has branded its "Stop Soros" package of legislation. Previously, the Hungarian Prime Minister said that Soros behind mass migration to European countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

'It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary, ' Open Society Foundations said.

Patrick Gaspard, the OSF's president, mentioned the federal government has "denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political achieve, utilizing techniques unprecedented within the historical past of the European Union".

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

Though the final law has yet to be made public, government officials have said it would block any incoming organisation from advising or representing asylum seekers without a license.

The OSF said the campaign had "invoked anti-Semitic imagery from World War Two", a charge denied by the government.

The Open Society Foundations have a long legacy in Hungary, where Soros was born and where he began his philanthropy in Europe.

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"This is a very significant moment".

The document also specified that the move is a necessary reaction to the actions of Prime Minister Orban, directed against non-governmental organizations.

Orban is leveraging his recent massive electoral victory to restrict the political influence of NGOs, many of which received millions from Soros, a Hungarian who escaped the country before Nazis invaded.

Since then, he has declared an end to the liberal democracy that has existed in Hungary since the fall of communism.

Last spring, Orban's governing coalition passed a bill that would force CEU to open an American campus - something the university says is cost prohibitive.

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs declined to comment.

Opposition and rights groups have long said that a departure of the OSF would mark a milestone in a slide towards authoritarian rule in Hungary and go against the principles of the European Union - a charge dismissed by the government.


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