Soros Foundation Leaves Hungary Citing 'Repression' of Civil Society

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

PM Viktor Orban has repeatedly slammed the tycoon for meddling in the nation's internal affairs.

The decision to move operations out of Budapest comes as Hungary prepares to impose the so-called "Stop Soros" package of legislation, which would enact unprecedented restrictions on human rights groups.

"Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations are moving their Budapest-based global operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin", the group said in a statement.

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. "It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference". He has proposed what is commonly referred to as a "Stop Soros" law, aimed at penalizing nongovernmental agencies that assist asylum seekers and refugees.

Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations, said on Tuesday that Budapest had "denigrated and misrepresented" the organization's work and repressed civil society "for the sake of political gain".

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.

Soros has remarked that the Hungarian government was attempting to slander him by pushing "distortions and lies". Soros, 87, a Jew who survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest during World War II, later made a fortune in the financial markets, and he created the foundations and donated billions of dollars to them.

Orban and Soros have clashed over the 2015 European migration crisis.

OSF cited the safety of its more than 100 employees in Hungary as well as the security of its operations there, which fund dozens of NGOs in the country of 10 million.

The CEU - which plans to open a satellite campus in Vienna - has agreed a deal with a United States college to meet new conditions imposed by Hungary, but the government is yet to approve the agreement.

"Orban is now trying to elevate the conservative revolution in Europe. and they believe this is going to strengthen Hungary's position in Europe", said Balazs Jarabik, non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Foreign funding for activities related to migration would be subjected to a 25 percent tax.

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