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EU takes on Hungary over NGO law seen as targeting Soros

AFP  |  Brussels 

The launched legal action against Hungary today over a crackdown on foreign-backed civil society groups that critics say targets US billionaire George Soros.

The move came hours after the of Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it would end a poster campaign attacking Soros that has been accused of anti-Semitism.


Brussels also announced that it is advancing a separate case over an education that could shut a Soros-backed university, risking a fresh confrontation with Orban.

"We have studied the new on NGOs carefully and have come to the conclusion that it does not comply with law," European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said.

Timmermans said civil groups were "the very fabric of our democratic societies and therefore should not be unduly restricted".

"We await a reaction from the Hungarian authorities within a month."

Hungary's approved the last month which will force groups receiving more than 24,000 euros (USD 26,000) annually in overseas funding to register as a "foreign-supported organisation", or risk closure for non- compliance.

They will also have to use the label "foreign-supported organisation" on their websites, press releases and other publications.

Orban's says the measures are aimed at improving transparency as well as fighting money laundering and terrorism funding.

Separately, the said it had moved onto the next formal stage in a legal case that it launched against Hungary in April over an education law, sending Budapest a "reasoned opinion" about the clash between that legislation and

"We expect a reaction from the Hungarian authorities within a month. If the response is not satisfactory, the commission can decide to go to the court," Timmermans said, referring to the European Court of Justice, the EU's top judiciary body.

Budapest has been outspoken in its opposition to Soros, claiming that his donations of billions of euros (dollars) to rights groups in the region are a bid to force Hungary to take in migrants.

Brussels launched legal action against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic last month over their refusal to take their share of migrants under an scheme aimed at easing the pressure on Mediterranean states from Europe's migrant crisis.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 13 2017. 18:48 IST
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