Politics Regional

The European Court of Justice: Hungary has ‘violated EU law with foreign funding rules’

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled out that Hungary had violated European law by restricting foreign funding of civil society organisations.

A Hungarian law of 2017 provides that non-governmental organizations receiving financing from abroad must be registered as “foreign-supported organisations” and disclose their donors names.

The supreme court of the European Union stated that the restrictions were discriminatory against NGOs and donors.

In its turn, Hungary states about its countering money-laundering and boosting transparency.

It worth mentioning that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long been engaged in a feud with the Hungarian-American billionaire philanthropist George Soros. He has accused NGOs funded by Mr Soros of interfering in domestic politics.

The specified law provides that NGOs receiving more $27,000 of foreign funding per year must be registered as such and disclose the names of their donors.

In its statement ECJ pointed out: “Hungary’s restrictions on the funding of civil organisations by persons established outside that member state do not comply with the Union law.”

In the view of the ECJ, the specified law restricts the free movement of capital, being one of the four cornerstone principles of the EU, as it “establishes a difference in treatment between national and cross-border movements”.

Critics of Mr Orban say the main goal of that law was to put down opposition.

EU leaders have repeatedly raised concerns about Mr Orban’s government. A group of 13 member states expressed “deep concern” over the extraordinary powers introduced in March to combat the coronavirus, as they could threaten “democracy and fundamental rights”.

Hungarian lawmakers voted in favour of repealing those powers on Tuesday.

But opposition groups fear Mr Orban’s administration has greatly expanded its powers amid the outbreak.

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