Budapest, Hungary – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has succeeded in forcing George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) to cease operations in Hungary, as the group confirmed on Tuesday that it would be ending operations in the country. OSF previously said it would move its Budapest operations to Berlin if necessary.
“Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations are moving their Budapest-based international operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin,” OSF announced on Tuesday.
Orbán and the Fidesz party had targeted OSF for “meddling” in the political affairs of Hungary, primarily in the funding of opposition groups that allegedly supported immigration.
Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard refuted Orbán’s characterization of the group, saying the Hungarian leader has “denigrated and misrepresented our work” while repressing civil society “for the sake of political gain.”
Orbán is widely known as a staunch opponent of immigration. “We will never allow Hungary to become a target country for immigrants. We do not want to see significantly sized minorities with different cultural characteristics and backgrounds among us. We want to keep Hungary as Hungary,” Orbán declared in 2015 following the murders in Paris at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
OSF noted that the impetus for the move comes as Hungary “prepares to impose further restrictions on nongovernmental organizations through what it has branded its ‘Stop Soros’ package of legislation.”
The Fidesz party submitted legislation to parliament in February known as the “Stop Soros Act” that aimed to limit immigration and intensify restrictions on the activities of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs). According to Reuters:
The bill, submitted to parliament late on Tuesday, is a key part of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration campaign targeting U.S. financier George Soros whose philanthropy aims to bolster liberal and open-border values in eastern Europe.
The government says the bill, which would also impose a 25 percent tax on foreign donations to NGOs that back migration in Hungary, is meant to deter illegal immigration Orban says is eroding European stability and has been stoked in part by Soros.
Hungary and Poland are both under nationalist governments that have clashed with the European Union leadership in Brussels over their perceived authoritarian drift deviating from EU standards on democracy and rule of law.
“If Soros is found to have engaged in such activity, meaning he organizes illegal immigration, then the rules will apply to him,” Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said.
After Orbán’s recent landslide election victory in April, he said, in reference to Soros and the OSF, “I know they won’t accept the result of the election, they will organize all sorts of things, they have unlimited financial resources.”
When news subsequently broke in April that OSF was planning on moving from Budapest to Berlin, Orbán quipped, “You might understand if I don’t cry my eyes out.”
Soros-affiliated organizations, such as OSF, have reportedly been connected to various color revolutions, the Arab Spring, and a number of other political uprisings across the globe.
According to a report in New Eastern Outlook:
The totality of what is revealed in the three hacked documents show that Soros is effectively the puppet-master pulling most of the strings in Kiev. Soros Foundation’s Ukraine branch, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) has been involved in Ukraine since 1989. His IRF doled out more than $100 million to Ukrainian NGOs two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, creating the preconditions for Ukraine’s independence from Russia in 1991. Soros also admitted to financing the 2013-2014 Maidan Square protests that brought the current government into power.
Soros’ foundations were also deeply involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought the corrupt but pro-NATO Viktor Yushchenko into power with his American wife who had been in the US State Department.
Zero Hedge reports that Open Society, which was launched in 1979, currently spends more than $940 million a year to support 26 regional and national offices. Last year, Soros announced that he was dedicating the majority of his $18 billion fortune to funding the Open Society Foundations.