Friday, 20 July, 2018

George Soros Foundation Closing Offices In Hungary

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki meets his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Warsaw Poland Poland's Prime Minister Morawiecki meets his Hungarian counterpart Orban in Warsaw Thomson Reuters
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2018, 08:30

Mr Soros' Open Society Foundations said it was shifting its office to Berlin in the face of an "increasingly repressive political and legal environment" under the nationalist government.

The foundations, which promote democracy, free expression and civil rights, have come under growing political and legal pressure from Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has stifled dissent and declared last week that "the era of liberal democracy is over".

This included criticizing the migration of influx of Muslim migrants into Europe and attacking forces that Orban believed were trying to push a pro-immigration agenda, including Soros.

Billionaire George Soros's nongovernmental foundation will quit Hungary, citing persecution faced by its staff that has made its work "impossible". The law was termed the "Stop Soros" bill.

Earlier against Soros and his Foundation in Hungary was launched large-scale campaign.

Soros' Foundations have about 100 employees in Budapest.

When news of the Open Society Foundations' possible departure from Hungary broke in April, Orban said: "You might understand if I don't cry my eyes out".

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Note that Orban is a big critic of Soros.

Orban is leveraging his recent massive electoral victory to restrict the political influence of NGOs, many of which received millions from Soros, a Hungarian who escaped the country before Nazis invaded.

Prior to Open Society's announcement on Tuesday, rights groups had already warned Hungary was going further down the path of authoritarianism, with NGOs and charities involved in migration already subject to hostility from the state-affiliated media and harassment by the authorities.

The new legislation restricts the work of NGOs that receive foreign funding, imposing a punitive 25% overhead tax on donations.

Another Soros institution funded by Soros, Budapest's Central European University, may also be forced to shutter operations in Hungary.

"CEU can not go into another academic year in a situation of legal uncertainty", its rector Michael Ignatieff said on Tuesday.

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