George Soros' Open Society foundation ends operations in Hungary - statement

April FrancisMay 16, 2018

The Fund, founded by billionaire George Soros will no longer work in Hungary because of the "repressive" policies of the government headed by Viktor Orban.

Open Society Foundations, the George Soros backed organization that has helped create the economic migrant crisis in Europe, is leaving the Central European nation of Hungary, declaring it can not "protect its employees from government".

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

Soros' Open Society Foundations, which promote democracy and free speech, have also endured threats of legal sanctions from the government.

On Monday, Orban's cabinet minister Antal Rogan said the government would further tighten restrictions on non-governmental organizations in its planned "Stop Soros" bill.

Soros has remarked that the Hungarian government was attempting to slander him by pushing "distortions and lies".

"We are going to reaffirm those elements of our sovereignty which are under attack", Orban spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said in a statement.

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The bill would allow the interior minister to ban any NGOs active in the immigration field deemed to pose a "national security risk".

The theme of thwarting Soros's alleged efforts to encourage immigration dominated the election campaign during which Orban said some 2,000 "mercenaries" paid by Soros were working in Hungary. 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.

"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", Patrick Gaspard, president of the foundations, said Tuesday.

Some Hungarian Jews, in addition to Soros himself, find the campaign anti-Semitic.

According to the Open Society Foundations' statement, the closure in Budapest will impact more than 100 staff based there, about 60 percent of whom are Hungarian.

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

The European Union has launched legal action against Hungary over its crackdown on NGOs, and education reform that could force the Soros-funded Central European University (CEU) to leave Budapest.

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