Working in Their Dream

If you don’t follow Viktor Orbán’s plan - assuming good relations with the authorities as well as with the Church - you cannot ensure a stable and functioning organisation

18 February 2019

Since the transition period in the early 1990’s, a diverse and active civil society has evolved in Hungary, with about 5,000 organisations (associations and foundations) currently active at some-level.

However, in the past six to seven years, many of them have had to begin operating under increasingly deteriorating conditions, characterised by a degenerating legal environment with limited access to funding and the closure of numerous advocacy avenues as well as a government-orchestrated smear campaign against independent civil society organisations (CSOs).

While the basic legislation of CSOs allows for free operation (though with considerable administrative burdens), in 2017 – in a move unprecedented in the European Union – the Hungarian Parliament passed an act “on the transparency of organisations supported from abroad”.

This move, styled after the Russian “foreign agent” law, prescribes that CSOs receiving more than 7.2 million HUF (approximately $24,000) from non-domestic sources (whether public or private) on an annual basis must register with the courts as being “foreign funded” and use this label on their websites and all publications. Non-compliant organisations are subject to sanctions, which eventually may lead to fines or even the organization’s dissolution.

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Veronika Mora

The Director of Ökotárs Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation

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