Hungary's pressure leads Soros groups to pack up

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose popularity is based in particular on its tough policy towards Muslim migrants, declared Soros an enemy of Hungary.

Soros' Open Society Foundations, which promote democracy and free speech, have also endured threats of legal sanctions from the government.

Orban, an avowed nationalist and critic of Western Europe's embrace of refugees, blamed Soros for much of the country's economic woes ahead of his recent reelection.

Open Society Foundations, the George Soros backed organization that has helped create the economic migrant crisis in Europe, is leaving the Central European nation of Hungary, declaring it can not "protect its employees from government".

The Open Society Foundation (OSF) backed by Hungarian-born United States billionaire George Soros is moving from Budapest to Berlin, the German public broadcaster DW reported on Tuesday.

Soros has remarked that the Hungarian government was attempting to slander him by pushing "distortions and lies".

The Central European University, founded in Budapest by Soros in 1991 after the fall of communism in eastern Europe, said on Tuesday it would stay in the Hungarian capital despite the OSF decision to leave.

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George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at European Union headquarters in Brussels on April 27, 2017.

"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", Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations, said in a statement.

The Open Society Foundations project was started in 1979, with the first non-US foundation opening in Hungary in 1984.

OSF cited the safety of its more than 100 employees in Hungary as well as the security of its operations there, which fund dozens of NGOs in the country of 10 million. The bill says that all NGOs which "support illegal immigration" need to be registered, while any NGO which gets money from overseas must pay a 25-percent tax.

OSF said it would continue to support civil society groups in Hungary, but beneficiaries of its grants such as the Hungarian Helsinki Committee expressed concern that they too might come under heavier political and legal pressure.

The prestigious Soros-founded Central European University is also waging a battle against Orban after a higher education law was passed past year that it says threatens its survival in Hungary. Those connected to Open Society have been targeted by clandestine and fraudulent recording efforts aimed at fueling the government's misleading propaganda campaign.


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