Hungary has introduced a new legislation aimed at severely limiting billionaire George Soros’ meddling with his home country’s immigration policy. The new “Stop Soros” laws are specifically targeting foreign NGOs and those receiving financial backing from foreign sponsors.
The exact details are due to be presented later this week, but the main pillars are:
1. NGOs participating in or supporting illegal immigration will now be obligated to provide data to the government of their activities;
2. Hefty 25% tax slugs will hit all NGOs receiving foreign aid. The National Tax and Customs administration will collect the tax;
3. Activists and foreign nationals in support of mass illegal migration may face restraining orders that will require them to maintain a five mile distance from the border. This includes bans from Budapest’s international airport, and possible deportation of foreign nationals. UN representatives and diplomats will remain exempt.
The legislation comes after Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán ordered a probe into Soros’ Open Society network, in October 2017. The investigation mapped out the billionaire’s “empire” of networks targeting the country, something the PM described mid last year as a “mafia network” that needed to be countered. During the probe, Orbán also mailed a Soros-related questionnaire to his 8 million Hungarian voters.
The Stop Soros laws will have “pseudo-civil groups managing illegal migration…scrutinised under a magnifying glass” says Orbán, further elaborating that no one involved with illegal immigration will be exempt.
“We want to keep everybody outside the country whose activities are fundamentally against the interests of the Hungarian people.”
Although Orbán’s government has been vocal against the European Union’s rules on migrant quotas, he went on record insisting migrants who genuinely need protection will receive it from Hungary, but on a temporary basis only. He added that once they no longer require protection, laws will see them returned to their country, and that they will never become permanent residents.
Decades ago, Soros financed Orbán’s British education. In 2010, Soros donated $1 million to Orbán’s government for clean-up efforts of a local environmental disaster. But over the latter part of the decade, Orbán’s friendly relationship with Soros has floundered. He now views Soros as a propagandist seeking to undermine his nation’s values.
In 2015, Soros proclaimed that it was the responsibility of the European Union to accept “at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future. And, to do that, it must share the burden fairly.” By late 2017, Orbán accused Soros of meddling in Hungary’s immigration policy and also the upcoming April 2018 elections through Soros-linked NGOs. Orbán accused him of funding the “new, mixed, Muslimized Europe” by pouring millions into liberal NGOs to influence the European Union into accepting asylum seekers.
Soros, who has admitted in past interviews that he thinks himself as “some kind of god[ly]” economic reformer, has poured $18 billion into his Open Societies Foundation (OSF), to sway long term political agendas. With this amount of money used to “colour revolutions”, Orbán’s concerns are not unwarranted.
Orban’s Fidesz party believes Soros is a “shadow power” who is serving foreign interests, and that other European nations are beginning to follow suit. “In every country, they will want to displace Soros,” he said in December. “In the coming year, Soros and his forces will be squeezed out.”
The loudest critics of the Stop Soros laws are two NGOs funded partially by OSF – Transparency International Hungary, and Hungarian Helsinki Committee.
Recent protest of the laws led president of the OSF Chris Stone to announce his organisation has no plans to leave Hungary, further accusing Hungary of resorting back to its old Communist roots.
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