Accessibility links

Breaking News

Soros Foundation Leaving Hungary

FILE - A government billboard shows George Soros (C) and opposition party leaders in Budapest, Hungary, Feb. 20, 2018. The billboard reads: 'They would dismantle the border fence together'.

The foundation of U.S.-Hungarian billionaire George Soros said Tuesday it is closing its office in Budapest and shifting those operations to Berlin in response to what it called "an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary."

The Open Society Foundations released a statement in which it highlighted restrictions on nongovernmental organizations that are expected to be among the first legislative priorities for Hungary's new parliament.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government is backing a so-called "Stop Soros" bill that would include taxes and bans on NGOs involved in immigration. The government has cited national security concerns, and Orban has accused Soros of working to undermine Europe's cultural identity by working to bring large numbers of migrants to the continent.

"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 OSF President Patrick Gaspard.

The OSF pledged to continue supporting civil society groups in Hungary, including work on arts, media freedom, transparency, education and health care.