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Hungary Passes Law Restricting Foreign NGOs

Hungary passes law restricting NGOs
Image by Copyright by World Economic Forum. swiss-image.ch/Photo by Sebastian Derungs.

The Hungarian Parliament passed a bill this week that approved restrictions on foreign non-governmental organizations from operating freely in the country. Specifically, beyond a defined amount of foreign funding, the organization must report its financing to the authorities.

The bill demands foreign NGOS create a special registry for “foreign-funded organizations.” It affects those receiving more than 7.2 million forint ($26,000) a year from abroad, ordering them to declare their “foreign” status on their websites and in all press kits and publications, reports Bloomberg.

These organizations “threaten the country’s political and economic interests and interfere with the functioning of its institutions,” according to the text of the law, authored by Gergely Gulyas, a Fidesz vice president.

The measure admittedly targets those funded by Leftist financier George Soros and will stop him from interfering in the operations of the government, remarked Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister.

The European Union has threatened to penalize Hungary financially and with restrictions on voting rights within the EU over the law. Other Eastern European countries are looking to, or already have, passed restrictions on the importation of refugees which further angered the EU leadership in Brussels.

Goran Buldioski, the director of the Open Society Foundations in Europe, said “It seeks to suppress democratic voices in Hungary just when the country needs them most. It attacks Hungarians who help fellow citizens challenge corruption and arbitrary power, and who stand up for free and independent media and for open debate.”

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