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Hungary’s government is set to push through new laws targeting the country’s civil society.
The so-called Stop Soros bill could become law this month, and would give the interior minister the power to ban NGOs that support migration. It would also impose a 25% tax on foreign donations to NGOs that support migration and require all organisations that deal with immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to obtain a license to do so, and to submit data on their activities. Applications will go to the Minister who will decide whether or not to grant a license.
Currently a voluntary registration scheme is in operation. The law will empower the interior minister to use the state security services to determine whether organisations pose a threat to national security. Organisations will also be shut down if they are found to be operating without the license, and if an application is turned down, the organisation will have to wait a year before reapplying.
The Fidesz-KDNP alliance government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, won a new four-year term in April. In the proposed bill, it says Hungarians do not want their country to become ‘an immigration country’:
“During the national consultation related to the Soros Plan, an unmatched number of Hungarian citizens, more than 2.3 million expressed their opinion. Based on the results of the consultation, the Hungarians want strong border protection and decisive action against those organising and facilitating illegal immigration. Hungarian citizens unanimously reject all plans facilitating and encouraging immigration. Hungarians do not wish Hungary to become an immigration country.”
“The Government has prepared a comprehensive defense package that reflects this demand. The legislative packages also includes proposal on the immigration financing duty and on immigration restraining orders.”
While the government says the bill is aimed at curbing illegal immigration, critics believe it is aimed at punishing nonprofits linked to Hungarian-born philanthropist and financier George Soros. Orban has previously accused Soros of meddling in Hungarian affairs, and particularly immigration.
A translation of the bill by the Helsinki Humanist Society is available to read here.