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George Soros: Foundation quits Hungary over ‘repressive’ policies

Activists of an opposition party removes a government billboard in BudapestImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Viktor Orban’s election campaign vilified Mr Soros

The foundation of philanthropist George Soros has said it is closing its office in Hungary, blaming the move on an “increasingly repressive” environment.

The Open Society Foundations, which funds non-governmental organisations (NGOs), says it will move its operation to the German capital, Berlin.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government has said it plans to tighten restrictions on NGOs.

Re-elected last month, Mr Orban campaigned under a “Stop Soros” banner.

Mr Soros denies Mr Orban’s accusation that his foundation is part of a plan to bring unsustainable numbers of migrants to Europe.

Foundation president Patrick Gaspard said: “The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union.”

The government did not comment immediately on the decision.

Mr Soros has spent $12bn (£9bn; €10bn), mostly through his Open Society Foundations, on civil initiatives to reduce poverty and increase transparency, and on scholarships and universities around the world, especially in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, since the 1980s.

These usually have a strong human rights component, which have made him the bogeyman of many nationalist and illiberal governments.

This has seen him come up against Mr Orban, who has declared war on liberalism.

George Soros: Foundation quits Hungary over ‘repressive’ policies

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