Government Officials Drive The George Soros Foundation Out Of Hungary

Government Officials Drive The George Soros Foundation Out Of Hungary

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. The law was termed the "Stop Soros" bill.

Under intense political pressure and the threat of legal sanctions, George Soros's Open Society Foundations said on Tuesday that it had become impossible to work in Hungary, whose Prime Minister has blamed Soros for the country's problems, and that the foundations would move their operations to Berlin.

As well as bemoaning "burdensome" transparency requirements on funding from overseas, the group registered its particular anger over measures in the package invoking national security interests, such as rules which would require NGOs working with asylum seekers to be licensed by the government. In addition, the new law bans NGO activity geared towards migrant human rights advocacy.

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Since opening his first foundation in Hungary in 1984, the Budapest-born Mr Soros has spent hundreds of millions of euro in the country on everything from photocopiers for independent media, to milk for schoolchildren and a clean-up operation after a 2010 toxic sludge disaster. According to a spokesperson for OSF, the organization will continue to operate in Hungary, supporting local groups doing work on fundamental rights advocacy. Pro-government media recently began publishing false accusations about individual academics, civil society members, and Foundations staff. The Hungarian government opposes the Open Society's open immigration policies. One law proposed by Orban would levee steep taxes against any organization that worked with refugees or promoted refugee rights.

Soros' Foundations have about 100 employees in Budapest.

"CEU can not go into another academic year in a situation of legal uncertainty", its rector Michael Ignatieff said on Tuesday. In 2010, Soros gave almost one million euros to help Hungarians affected by the catastrophic "red sludge" industrial disaster.

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