Gov’t announces new attack on civil society with “Stop Soros” bill

January 17, 2018

Gov't announces new attack on civil society with "Stop Soros" bill 1
Photo: MTI/Zoltán Balogh

The Hungarian government announced today it is proposing a “Stop Soros” bill that would essentially allow the government to impose penalties on organizations it deems to be supporting illegal immigration.

According to government spokesman Zoltán Kovács (pictured left), the bill would

  • Require organizations that support illegal immigration through foreign financial resources to register and report on their activity.
  • Impose a tax on foreign funding of said organization (25 percent on foreign income). The revenues generated from this tax would be “invested” in border protection.
  • Make it possible to issue restraining orders against those taking part in organized illegal immigration. Such restraining orders would apply in any area that is within 8 km of the Schengen border. “In special cases, a third-country citizen would be subject to a restraining order anywhere within Hungary. This measure would remain in force until the end of the migration crisis.”

This Putin-esque bill was announced Wednesday during a press conference jointly held by Interior Minister Sándor Pintér (pictured right) and Kovács.

In a blog post on the government’s English-language propaganda site About Hungary, Kovács argues that such legislation would reflect the will of the people because of the results of the last two national consultations. (These national consultations, experts have argued, are fake plebiscites that generate unverifiable results-ed.)

A piece published about the news in Hungarian on Origo.hu contained one very important element that was left out of Kovács’s English-language blog post. Origo.hu reports that the government spokesman referred to the bill as the “Stop Soros” proposal, in reference to the Open Society Foundations’ George Soros.