Budapest (AFP) – The foundation run by US-Hungarian billionaire George Soros said Tuesday it was closing operations in Hungary and relocating to Germany in response to the “repressive” policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.
“Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are moving their Budapest-based international operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin,” the network said in a statement.
Orban, re-elected last month for a third consecutive term in office, has long accused the 87-year-old Soros and non-governmental organisations he funds of orchestrating immigration and plotting to undermine the cultural and religious identity of Europe.
“We won’t be shedding any crocodile tears,” the government’s press office told AFP in an email Tuesday reacting to the news of the foundation’s departure.
OSF said the decision follows the latest steps by Orban to “impose further restrictions” on NGOs.
Earlier this year, citing national security concerns, the government announced a so-called “Stop Soros” package of draft laws aimed at “shedding light” and clamping down on NGOs receiving funding from abroad.