Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Soros foundation quits Hungary to escape 'unprecedented' tactics

Soros foundation quits Hungary to escape 'unprecedented' tactics

The inspiration of billionaire philanthropist, George Soros, is relocating its headquarters to Berlin from Budapest within the wake of an "more and more repressive" setting in Hungary.

"The Hungarian government is wrong and denigrates our work, and also suppresses the activity of civil society for political gain, using tactics that have no precedent in the history of the European Union", - said the President of the Foundation "open society" Patrick Gaspard.

The legislation is branded as "Stop Soros" and the Hungarian government warned on Monday that legislative measures may yet become tighter. The Foundations will pursue all available legal avenues to defend the fundamental rights that are threatened by the legislation. The move represents another example of the battle between Prime Minister Viktor Orban and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

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

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

Since opening his first foundation in Hungary in 1984, the Budapest-born Mr Soros has spent hundreds of millions of euro in the country on everything from photocopiers for independent media, to milk for schoolchildren and a clean-up operation after a 2010 toxic sludge disaster. He emigrated to the United States in 1956 and later began a successful career as an investor.

George Soros' Open Society Foundations operates more than 40 offices around the world. Soros is the founder and chair and has donated more than $32 billion (€27 billion) to the organization.

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