Soros Foundation Leaves Hungary Citing 'Repression' of Civil Society

Charlene Craig
May 15, 2018

The step raises the stakes in Prime Minister Viktor Orban's standoff with the European Union as he seeks to complete a break with liberal democracy after winning a third consecutive term in elections last month.

Open Society Foundations is closing its operations in Hungary and moving staff to Berlin, citing an increasingly repressive political and legal environment and security concerns.

Earlier, the Hungarian government had expressed their opposition to the activities of billionaire George Soros and his organizations, accusing them of meddling in the country's internal affairs.

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"The so-called Stop Soros package of laws is only the latest in a series of such attempts".

The building that houses the Budapest offices of the Open Society Foundations in Budapest, Hungary. Foreign funding for activities related to migration would be subjected to a 25 percent tax. "It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference".

According to a spokesperson for OSF, the organization will continue to operate in Hungary, supporting local groups doing work on fundamental rights advocacy.

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The Open Society Foundations have a long legacy in Hungary, where Soros was born and where he began his philanthropy in Europe.

The European Union has launched legal action against Hungary over its crackdown on NGOs, and education reform that could force the Soros-funded Central European University (CEU) to leave Budapest.

The representative of the Hungarian government, zoltán kovács, declined to comment. Those connected to Open Society have been targeted by clandestine and fraudulent recording efforts aimed at fueling the government's misleading propaganda campaign.

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