Soros Foundation to leave Hungary

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban smiles prior to a swearing-in ceremony for members of the new Hungarian parliament

"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 announced on Tuesday.

The group based its decision on the fact that Budapest "prepares to impose further restrictions on nongovernmental organizations through what it has branded its "Stop Soros" package of legislation".

The Hungarian government has been pushing to adopt the so-called "Stop Soros Act", which would allow banning activities of pro-immigration policies in Hungary.

When news of the Open Society Foundations' possible departure from Hungary broke in April, Orban said: "You might understand if I don't cry my eyes out".

"The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union, " said Patrick Gaspard, president of the OSF. The law was termed the "Stop Soros" bill.

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Though the final law has yet to be made public, government officials have said it would block any incoming organisation from advising or representing asylum seekers without a license. Open Society said the campaign had "invoked anti-Semitic imagery from World War II".

George Soros' charitable foundations announced Tuesday that they are leaving Hungary, the New York Times reported.

"This is a very significant moment".

On Monday, Antal Rogan, the minister for Orban's Cabinet office, said the government would propose an even "tighter" bill, but he provided no details.

The OSF is active in 100 countries and for more than 25 years it has channelled more than €27bn in the promotion of human rights and democracy in Eastern Europe.

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Orban's party, Fidesz, along with a smaller coalition partner, holds two-thirds of the seats in Parliament and is therefore poised to pass whatever legislation it sees fit - including changes to the constitution.

Since then, he has declared an end to the liberal democracy that has existed in Hungary since the fall of communism.

Also, foreign citizens and Hungarian nationals who support illegal immigration could be subject to a restraining order which would keep them away from the border.

Critics say Orban has used his long tenure to systematically eliminate the free media and slide the country towards autocracy. "The will of the people is going to rule the political arena". "It is a very unfortunate situation".

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