A newly proposed law would force any NGO receiving over EUR 23,300 per year in donations from outside Hungary to declare itself to be a ‘foreign agent’ or risk closure.
Members of Orbán’s party have said that they intend to ‘sweep out’ organisations that fight corruption and protect the environment, civil liberties and democracy.
A similar law in Russia has seen dozens of rights and pro-democracy NGOs close by turning the public against them and paving the way for further government harassment. All EU governments have pledged to defend rights and democracy. This law breaks that pledge.
Orbán is hoping that the world is so focused on his recent legislation aimed at closing the Central European University that they won’t have the time or energy to oppose his anti-democracy law.
Democracy cannot work without NGOs. They help to make sure that governments don’t break the law. They keep the people informed about how the authorities are using their powers and spending public money. And they help the public organise to speak to their political representatives with one voice. Governments may not like everything they hear, but that is how democracy works.
On the 26th of April, the European Parliament will debate the situation in Hungary. Join us in calling on the European Parliament to pass a resolution urging Orbán to withdraw his anti-democracy law.
The European People’s Party, the largest group in the European Parliament, has protected Orbán against criticism since he came to power. But after years of anti-democratic reforms to the media, the courts and the constitution, they are becoming more reluctant to stand by Hungary’s leader.
Let’s send a message to the European Parliament that this Putin-style anti-democracy law has no place here. Protect the last line of defence for Hungarian democracy!