Open Society Foundations Withdraws Hungary After Orban's 'Repressive' Anti-Soros Crackdown

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"Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are moving their Budapest-based worldwide operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin", the network said in a statement. Previously, the Hungarian Prime Minister said that Soros behind mass migration to European countries of North Africa and the Middle East. "It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference", CNBC added. He has proposed what is commonly referred to as a "Stop Soros" law, aimed at penalizing nongovernmental agencies that assist asylum seekers and refugees.

Since opening his first foundation in Hungary in 1984, the Budapest-born Mr Soros has spent hundreds of millions of euro in the country on everything from photocopiers for independent media, to milk for schoolchildren and a clean-up operation after a 2010 toxic sludge disaster.

"This is a very significant moment".

On Monday, Orban's cabinet minister Antal Rogan said the government would further tighten restrictions on non-governmental organizations in its planned "Stop Soros" bill.

"We are going to stand by our colleagues in civil society, but we are taking it day-by-day and if this package passes and are putting our staff at risk in any way then we are going to have to reconsider".

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OSF said more than 100 OSF staff in Budapest would be affected by the move to Berlin, around 60 percent of whom are Hungarian nationals.

"Whenever a civil society organisation that helps build vibrant & tolerant democracies is threatened & feels it can no longer do its work, democracy suffers", EU First Vice President Frans Timmermans tweeted. He can deliver on his promises because he achieved a two-thirds majority in the country's parliament.

The CEU - which plans to open a satellite campus in Vienna - has agreed a deal with a U.S. college to meet new conditions imposed by Hungary, but the government is yet to approve the agreement.

The Central European University, founded in Budapest by Soros in 1991 after the fall of communism in eastern Europe, said on Tuesday it would stay in the Hungarian capital despite the OSF decision to leave.

Opposition and rights groups have long said that a departure of the OSF would mark a milestone in a slide towards authoritarian rule in Hungary and go against the principles of the European Union - a charge dismissed by the government. "It is a very unfortunate situation".

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