Hungary plans to push forward a controversial legislation aimed against foreign funded non-governmental organizations, said Prime Minister Victor Orban on Friday.
Orban, the leader of the conservative Fidesz party, and Hungary’s PM since 2010, accused American billionaire George Soros of influencing Hungarian politics through his civil society organizations and NGO’s.
Orban stated that Soros’ organizations worked to undermine the country’s tough anti-immigration policy and acted as paid political activists for Soros’ goals.
Hungary’s proposed higher education legislation could lead to the shutdown of Central European University (CEU) founded by George Soros. The university officials say that the new legislation will prevent them from receiving new students.
Hungary’s government emphasized that Soros’ organizations are not transparent. “The truth is that this piece of legislation adopted by the Hungarian parliament is a minor amendment that applies to 28 foreign universities in Hungary and all it does is introduce uniform rules applying to them, closes loopholes, introduces transparency and ends privileges that these foreign universities enjoyed over European ones.”
Said Orban in EU Parliament, defending his government’s position in front of MP’s.
The EU harshly criticized Orban for the proposed legislation and launched infringement proceedings against Hungary.
Soros himself reacted by accusing Orban of building a ‘mafia state’. In a speech in Brussels, Soros said he was “full of admiration for the courageous way the Hungarian people have resisted the deception and corruption of the mafia state the Orbán regime has established”.
Quick to respond, Orban called Soros’ statement a ‘declaration of war’.
“This is a declaration of war, no doubt,” Orban told state radio. “The only network which operates in mafia ways, which is not transparent… in Hungary is the Soros network.”
“This is why we must insist, and I personally insist on having a parliament decision on making these organizations transparent,” the PM added.
The proposed legislation states that non-governmental organizations with foreign donations of at least 7.2 million forints ($26,000) will be required to register with authorities and declare themselves as foreign-funded.
The NGO’s said the proposed measures would stigmatize them.
Orban’s opponents expressed their opposition to the legislation in mass protests in Budapest. They accused Orban of pushing to stifle dissenting voices and putting independent institutions under government control.
Orban and other government officials dismissed the accusations.
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