CSOs have launched a campaign against the decision by the Hungarian government to crack down on foreign-funded organizations. The legislative proposal that was tabled in the Hungarian parliament on April 7 would force NGOs receiving more than 25.000 USD per year from outside Hungary to register as “civic organizations receiving foreign funds”. According to the Government, transparency is the key driver behind the draft legislation, as well as the need to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. However, this legislation must be viewed through the context of the ongoing efforts to discredit critical NGOs. According to Civil Society Europe, which has launched a Call for Solidarity, this would effectively stigmatize any organization that receives foreign funding and is part of a wider governmental effort aimed at undermining the credibility of civil society in Hungary. Moreover, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe has called on the Hungarian authorities not to adopt this draft Act in the name of respect of freedom of association, based on the opinion of its Expert Council on NGO Law, concluding that this Act is incompatible with international and European standards and would open the door to further acts of discrimination and/or vilification of civil society.
Source: IFEX / Civil Society Europe