Open Society Foundations Withdraws Hungary After Orban's 'Repressive' Anti-Soros Crackdown

George Soros

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.

Orban's campaign for the April election vilified Soros and his activities in support of civil society on billboards nationwide, and he made clear he would be glad to see the OSF leave Hungary.

Patrick Gaspard, the president of the Open Society Foundations, lashed out at Budapest, saying it has "denigrated and misrepresented our work", while repressing civil society "for the sake of political gain".

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". He has proposed what is commonly referred to as a "Stop Soros" law, aimed at penalizing nongovernmental agencies that assist asylum seekers and refugees.

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

In a statement, the foundations said the government had spent "more than 100 million euros" on a propaganda campaign against them, including "invoking anti-Semitic imagery from World War II".

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

Earlier, the Hungarian government had expressed their opposition to the activities of billionaire George Soros and his organizations, accusing them of meddling in the country's internal affairs.

The new legislation restricts the work of NGOs that receive foreign funding, imposing a punitive 25% overhead tax on donations. Since then he has donated billions of dollars to foundations across the world, with the first in Hungary opening in 1984 to promote freedom of speech during communism.

George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at European Union headquarters in Brussels on April 27, 2017.

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.

According to a spokesperson for OSF, the organization will continue to operate in Hungary, supporting local groups doing work on fundamental rights advocacy.

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.

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