European Commission sues Hungary over “NGO law”

February 8, 2018

European Commission sued Hungary on European Court of Justice over "NGO law"
Photo: European Union 2012 EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari

The European Commission has sued Hungary in the European Court of Justice over the discriminatory “NGO law”, reports hvg.hu.

According to the European Commission, the law violates the freedom of association enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In addition, the law might hinder NGOs’ ability to raise funds, thereby limiting their ability to perform their tasks. Moreover, the law unreasonably and disproportionately limits the movement of capital, therefore discouraging foreign donations, the European Commission argues. The law also raises concerns regarding the right for protection of privacy and personal data

As the Hungarian government failed to address the issues raised by the European Commission over last summer, in October 2017 the Commission decided to proceed with the infringement proceeding over the “NGO law” initiated earlier. In January, the Hungarian Constitutional Court also began discussion of the law after opposition MPs petitioned the court to review the law.

The law obliges NGOs receiving more than HUF 7.2 million (USD 28,300) of foreign donations in a given year to register themselves as “foreign-funded”. It was passed by the Fidesz-KDNP-controlled parliament on June 13, 2017 and, along with the Lex CEU (Central European University), has been a major point of contention with Hungary’s western democratic allies.