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Soros goes from Hungary

15 May 2018, 08:23 | Taylor George

Hungarian PM Calls Refusal to Let Migrants in'Sovereignty Matter

Hungarian army officers stand at the Serbian Hungarian border as a Syrian refugee women crosses near Roszke southern Hungary Saturday Sept. 12 2015

George Soros's foundation said on Tuesday it would close its office in Budapest and move to Berlin, leaving what it called "an increasingly repressive political and legal environment" in Hungary.

The move represents another example of the battle between Prime Minister Viktor Orban and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

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.

"The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union", said Patrick Gaspard, president of Open Society Foundations. According to a spokesperson for OSF, the organization will continue to operate in Hungary, supporting local groups doing work on fundamental rights advocacy.

Re-elected last month, Mr Orban campaigned under a "Stop Soros" banner. Orban says Soros is out to undermine Europe's cultural identity while the billionaire has accused him of running a mafia state.

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Soros, through his Open Society Foundations initiative, has pushed for pro-immigration policies attracting the ire of Orban and his supporters.

The "Stop Soros" package was "one of the most important questions of the election, Hungarians voted for it ... what we said we would do, we will do", Orban said Monday on a visit to Warsaw.

Hungary and Poland hold similar positions on the European Union's new budget and oppose cutting funds for the common agricultural policy, the two prime ministers said on Monday.

The government has repeatedly denied this. It would also introduce a 25 percent tax on foreign donations to NGOs that support migration.



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