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Soros foundation to shut its office in 'repressive' Hungary
16 May 2018, 12:43 | Colleen Roy
Soros foundation to shut its office in'repressive HungaryMore
The document also specified that the move is a necessary reaction to the actions of Prime Minister Orban, directed against non-governmental organizations.
"The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union", saidPatrick Gaspard, president of Open Society Foundations. He has proposed what is commonly referred to as a "Stop Soros" law, aimed at penalizing nongovernmental agencies that assist asylum seekers and refugees.
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 bill already allows the interior minister to ban NGOs active in the immigration field that he deems to pose a "national security risk", and it imposes a 25 percent tax on foreign donations to NGOs that back migration.
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.
The prime minister views Soros as an intruder into the country's domestic politics, which are more and more being painted by Europe's growing 2015 migrant crisis.
The legislation is branded as "Stop Soros" and the Hungarian government warned on Monday that legislative measures may yet become tighter.
The move comes a month after Mr Orban won a third straight term in office on pledges to block immigration and introduce a "Stop Soros" law to dramatically tighten state control on NGOs that help the few refugees and migrants in Hungary.
In a statement, the foundations said the government had spent "more than 100 million euros" on a propaganda campaign against them, including "invoking anti-Semitic imagery from World War II".
Before the election, Orban's political campaign vilified Soros, and his activity supporting civil society, on billboards nationwide. Open Society Foundations said Tuesday that it would seek legal routes to challenge the new legislation. Since then he has donated billions of dollars to foundations across the world, with the first in Hungary opening in 1984 to promote freedom of speech during communism.
Government pressure shows no sign of easing, however: Mr Orban said recently that he would not "shed crocodile tears" over the OSF, and he backed a pro-government magazine's publication of a list of more than 200 Hungarian NGO staff, academics and journalists whom it called "Soros mercenaries".
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