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So why are the Hungarians drafting a Stop Soros law?

So why are the Hungarians drafting a Stop Soros law?
[Photo: Niccolò Caranti/Wikimedia Commons]

The Hungarian government really doesn’t like George Soros. So much so that the nationalist, anti-immigration government has introduced legislation colloquially known as a “Stop Soros” law. So what did the Hungarian-American billionaire hedge fund manager do to tick off the homeland?

Soros has devoted much of his time and money promoting open-border values in Eastern Europe. He has been a long-time donor to organizations that support democratic reform in the U.S. and throughout the world, and been an open supporter for migrants and refugees, and for criminal-justice reform for years. As a well-known promoter of liberal causes, he has become “the right’s favorite boogeyman” and the target of Hungary’s new bill.

According to Reuters, the bill, which was introduced in Parliament on Tuesday night, is part of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration campaign and it may ensure him a third term in office. The so-called Stop Soros bill would impose a 25% tax on foreign donations to NGOs that back migration in Hungary (that means Soros), on the grounds that it stokes illegal immigration. The bill further penalizes NGOs by requiring them to register and receive a government permit for activities like advocating or campaigning for immigrant rights, recruiting volunteers to the cause, or even releasing booklets, and permission could be denied if the government saw a “national security risk.”

For his part, Soros has rejected the campaign against him as “distortions and lies.” Last month, Soros’s Open Society Foundation said that the proposed regulations would undermine democracy by attempting to “criminalize” civil society and muzzle independent voices. The rule would also put Hungary at odds with the European Union, which has raised alarms over the rise of nationalism in both Hungary and Poland.ML