Hungarian Cabinet to Submit ‘Stop Soros’ Bill to Lawmakers

  • Government says bill to be tougher than original draft
  • Hungary’s Orban has targeted Soros in his re-election bid

George Soros

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Hungary’s government will submit to parliament on Tuesday a bill targeting people and non-governmental organizations perceived to be helping immigration.

The bill, which the cabinet has dubbed “Stop Soros” after the Hungarian-born philanthropist and investor George Soros, is tougher than an original plan unveiled last month, government spokesman Bence Tuzson told reporters in Budapest.

The proposed regulations serve to undermine democracy by attempting “criminalize” civil society and muzzle independent voices, Soros’s Open Society Foundations said last month.

Hungary’s government plans to register, penalize and possibly bar people it deems to be supporting illegal immigration, a centerpiece of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s campaign to win a third consecutive term in elections in April. Orban has made the 87 year-old Soros, who lives in the U.S. but supports a number of NGOs in Hungary, a nemesis he accuses of trying to subvert the government.

The original draft would force foreign-funded organizations seen as “sponsoring” or in other ways supporting the “illegal entry, transfer or stay” of asylum seekers to register and pay a 25 percent charge on financing obtained abroad. Persons considered to be doing so may be barred from border areas, while foreigners could be prevented from entering Hungary.

The bill, to be submitted on Tuesday, will also require national security clearance and a government permit for what authorities consider sponsoring or organizing immigration. However, passage of that part of the bill would require a two-thirds parliamentary majority and therefore the support of opposition parties, Tuzson said.

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