Soros foundation to leave Hungary by August-end

Open Society Foundations says move due to 'repressive' policies of Orban government

Photo: EPA

The foundation run by US billionaire George Soros announced that the last of its operations in Hungary would cease by 31 August, with all activities being transferred to Berlin, citing the “repressive” policies of nationalist firebrand Prime Minister Viktor Orban as reason behind the decision.

“There are still some colleagues working here in the office, but we will have closed for good by 31 August,” the Open Society Foundations (OSF) spokesman in Budapest Daniel Makonnen said.

In April, Orban won a landslide victory in an election that handed him a third straight term as prime minister, and he has since indicated he wants to use this mandate to intensify his anti-migrant, nationalist and culturally conservative agenda.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric was a key part of Orban’s election campaign and his government accuses Soros and his organisation of orchestrating immigration and undermining the cultural and religious identity of Europe. Almost 3 months later, in June, Hungary passed the controversial "Stop Soros" law, which includes a punishment of up to a year in prison for anyone assisting illegal migrants, entering the country.

Currently, the EU is taking legal action against Hungary over the law and its failure to resolve previous complaints about its treatment of asylum seekers.

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