George Soros Foundation to leave Hungary due to hostile climate

Viktor Orban and Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw

Viktor Orban and Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw

"Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations are moving their Budapest-based worldwide operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin, " the group announced on Tuesday.

Re-elected last month, Mr Orban campaigned under a "Stop Soros" banner.

Neither Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki nor his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban commented on an European Union plan to cut money in the 2021-2027 budget for member states that interfere in their legal systems.

"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 so-called Stop Soros package of laws is only the latest in a series of such attempts". Orban says Soros is out to undermine Europe's cultural identity while the billionaire has accused him of running a mafia state.

The nationalist leader ploughed tens of millions of euro in taxpayers' money into an anti-Soros media campaign that critics called anti-Semitic, and he said on Monday that the Stop Soros law is a top priority.

George Soros' Open Society Foundations operates more than 40 offices around the world.

The government has repeatedly denied this.

The Open Society Foundations released a statement in which it highlighted restrictions on nongovernmental organizations that are expected to be among the first legislative priorities for Hungary's new parliament.

It would allow the interior minister to ban any NGOs active in the immigration field deemed to pose a "national security risk". It would also introduce a 25 percent tax on foreign donations to NGOs that support migration.

The prestigious Soros-founded Central European University (CEU) is also waging a battle against Orban after a higher education law was passed a year ago that it says threatens its survival in Hungary.

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