Hungary's NGO foreign funding law considered unlawful

Hungary's law that requires civil organisations to disclose their foreign donors is in breach of EU rules that protect the Union's fundamental rights, a legal adviser to the EU top court said last Tuesday. The law is part of a series of measures against what the government deems unfair foreign influence that are linked to its feud with Budapest-born US billionaire George Soros.

PM Viktor Orban has repeatedly accused NGOs of political meddling. The crackdown has led the European Parliament to open a procedure against Hungary for allegedly breaching EU fundamental rights that could lead to the suspension of the country’s voting rights in the EU. The opinion is not binding, but is likely to be upheld by the court in the final ruling. It is a new blow to Orban's government, which is accused in Brussels of limiting its citizens' rights with a series of laws that could restrict the independence of judges, the media and civil society.

The law requires civil organisations that receive funding from abroad to disclose in a public online register their foreign funders with donations exceeding 500,000 Hungarian forints ($1,670), once their foreign funding reaches a threshold set by the authorities. The law also unduly interferes with fundamental rights, such as the respect of private life and the protection of personal data, as it requires a disproportionate disclosure of donors' personal information, and also violates the principle of free movement of capital within the Union, legal adviser Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona said.

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