Hungary’s rules for foreign-funded NGOs unlawful, says top EU advisor

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Hungary’s rules for foreign-funded NGOs unlawful, says top EU advisor

Today´s Deals

Hungary's restrictions on external financing of non-governmental organizations violate EU law, says a leading EU legal adviser.

On Tuesday, EU Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona said the rules are disproportionate and unjustified.

Sanchez-Bordona added that the restrictions are "an interference with their privacy regarding the processing of their personal data."

The EU Court of Justice will now rule the case in Luxembourg.

Controversial restrictions on NGOs

In 2017, Hungary adopted legislation requiring NGOs to identify themselves as foreign-funded if they received finances of more than 7.2 million forints (€ 21,615) per year.

Civic organizations would also have to list foreign sponsors who fund them with more than 500,000 forints (1,500 €) annually.

The rule was introduced to increase transparency among NGOs and increase efforts against money laundering and terrorist financing.

But Sanchez-Bordona's non-binding opinion found that the threshold was "excessively low, given the severity of the resulting interference" and that there is no difference between donations from other EU countries and outside the EU.

The attorney general also said he believed foreign donors could be deterred from funding NGOs in the future.

Viktor Orban and the Soros Network

The Hungarian government has said restrictions on funding from outside NGOs are examining the "Soros network" – companies that receive funding from billionaire George Soros's Open Society Foundations.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused Soros of trying to influence Hungarian politics.

The Hungarian NGOs said they were confident that the EU court would rule against the restrictions.

If Hungary violates EU regulations, Hungary must repeal the law or face financial sanctions.

Budapest has previously told Euronews they are "ready for the process".

Euronews has asked the Hungarian government to comment on this article.

. (tagsToTranslate) Hungary (t) European Union (t) European Court of Justice (t) NGO (t) Financing (t) Law

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