EU steps up legal action on 'anti-Soros' NGO law

The European Commission said it was moving to the second stage of its infringement procedure because Budapest's response to the launch of the case in July was not sufficient.

EU steps up legal action on 'anti-Soros' NGO law

World Bulletin / News Desk

The EU on Wednesday said it had intensified its legal action against Hungary over its crackdown on foreign-backed civil society groups that critics say targets US billionaire George Soros.

In the latest round of the ongoing tussle between Brussels and the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has regularly attacked Soros, calling him a "public enemy" for his supposed backing of uncontrolled mass immigration.

"Having carefully analysed the explanations put forward by Hungary, the European Commission concludes that its serious concerns have not been addressed," the commission said in a statement.

Hungary now has one month to comply or risk being hauled before the bloc's top court, the commission said.

The commission, the EU's executive arm, recalled it had launched the case against Budapest over a law that it said unfairly discriminated and disproportionately restricted foreign donations to non-government organisations.

In June, Hungary's parliament approved the law which will force groups receiving more than 24,000 euros ($26,000) annually in overseas funding to register as a "foreign-supported organisation", or risk closure for non-compliance. 

They will also have to use the label "foreign-supported organisation" on their websites, press releases and other publications. 

Orban's government says the measures are aimed at improving transparency as well as fighting money laundering and terrorism funding.

The commission also said "Hungary violates the right to freedom of association and the right to protection of private life and personal data" under EU treaties.

"Hungary now has one month to take the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinion. If Hungary fails to reply satisfactorily to the reasoned opinion, then the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU," it said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Ekim 2017, 16:10