Soros Foundation Leaves Hungary Citing 'Repression' of Civil Society

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki meets his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Warsaw Poland

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki meets his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Warsaw Poland

The legislation is branded as "Stop Soros" and the Hungarian government warned on Monday that legislative measures may yet become tighter.

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.

Hungary is one of the most anti-immigrant EU member-states and has constantly clashed with the European Union over their contrasting stances on tackling the migrant crisis.

Soros launched his first foundation in Hungary in 1984, using it to promote freedom of expression during the last years of Communism, the OSF said.

"The Foundations will pursue all available legal avenues to defend the fundamental rights that are threatened by the legislation", OSF said in the statement, vowing to continue the organisation's work in Hungary through funding from the German capital.

The government has repeatedly denied this.

Earlier this year, citing national security concerns, his government announced a so-called "Stop Soros" package of laws aimed at tightening rules for NGOs receiving funding from overseas. He did not provide details. As it stands, the proposed law would allow the interior ministry to ban an NGO that deals with immigration if it posed a "national security risk".

But Pardavi added that it had no plans to leave Budapest and would not back away from its advocacy of the rights of asylum seekers and other core issues unless forced to do so.

Another term for Orban could also have implications for Soros's Central European University, a graduate school which is considered by the government a foreign institution. Its rector, Michael Ignatieff, said new students in 2019 might have to enrol across the border in Austria if the CEU fails to strike a deal with Hungary under the new law, which sparked street protests and an European Union legal challenge.

"Orban now wants to enact laws that force non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to register with the government".

"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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