Home Foreign news Hungary DEFIES European Union as Orban cracks down on foreign-funded NGOs

Hungary DEFIES European Union as Orban cracks down on foreign-funded NGOs

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Prime minister Viktor Orban has stepped up Budapest’s ongoing row with billionaire philanthropist George Soros as he takes aim at NGOs.

Right-wing populist Mr Orban has especially focused on organisations funded by Mr Soros, an American-Hungarian, branding them a “mafia-like” network with paid political activists who threaten national sovereignty.

The new law requires NGOs that get money from abroad to register with the authorities.

NGOs receiving more than $26,000-a-year from overseas are affected by the law which ordered them to declare their “foreign status” online and in all press kits and publications.

Mr Orban’s ruling Fidesz party says it wants to ensure greater transparency and protect Hungary from foreign influence, but NGOs say the bill stigmatises them and is intended to stifle independent voices in the central European country.

The text of the law, authored by Gergely Gulyas, a Fidesz vice president, says the rules are necessary because foreign-funded NGOs can “threaten the country’s political and economic interests and interfere with the functioning of its institutions.”

It adds: “It is of vital public interest that society and citizens clearly see what interests these organisations represent.