The Hungarian government is set to submit a law this week restricting the way NGOs are able to operate in the country, in what is seen as an attempt to curb the influence of radical leftist billionaire George Soros.
In December 2016, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared that 2017 would be the year of “the extrusion of George Soros and the forces symbolized by him.” It looks as if Orban intends to fulfill that prophecy.
“Soros finances evil and has never done anything good for this country.”
Every nation “will want to displace Soros,” said Orban at the time. “This can already be seen in Europe. They investigate where the money comes from, what kind of intelligence connections there are, which NGOs represent what interests,” he said.
On Monday, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs described certain NGOs as “foreign agents financed by foreign money.” In January, the vice-chairman of the ruling Fidesz Party, Szilard Nemeth, said that Soros’ Open Society Foundations and its network of activist groups should be “swept out” of Hungary.
“These organizations must be pushed back with all available tools, and I think they must be swept out, and now I believe the international conditions are right for this with the election of [Donald Trump],” said Nemeth.
Hungary isn’t the only European country in which efforts to combat Soros’ influence are underway. In January, “Stop Operation Soros” (SOS) was launched in Macedonia. During the official press conference, SOS co-founder Nikola Srbov explained the group’s motivation.
“We’ve witnessed the takeover of the entire civil sector and its abuse and instrumentalization to meet the goals of one political party. That is unacceptable and goes beyond the principles of civic organizing,” Srbov said.
“The Open Society Foundation[s], operating under the Soros umbrella, used its funding and personnel to support violent processes in Macedonia. It has monopolized the civil society sector, pushing outside any organization which disagrees with the Soros ideology,” he continued.
“We believe that, in these murky times, it is really important to take away the mask of the so-called civic organizations and to clearly reveal their political goals and actions, as well as their financing,” said Nenad Mirchevski, another OSO co-founder.
The movement was launched following former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s call in December for the “de-Soros-ization” of the country. “His foundation, in finances and human resources, is the most powerful foundation in the world that has political goals,” said Gruevski.
“Soros decided to use his fortune to exercise influence in two directions – ideological to the creation of so-called ‘open societies’ and financial, through speculation and previously known political outcomes in certain countries to capitalize on the stock market,” he said.
“After a while, entire institutions, ministries, perhaps governments and their intelligence services are infected with his views, his ideology … and goals.”
In June 2016, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, criticized international “pressure” applied to force Poland to create a “multicultural society.” Kacyznski name Soros specifically, accusing him of wishing to create “societies without identity” that can be “manipulated by billionaires.”
In November 2016, the Polish government created an agency to oversee NGO activity in the country. In January, Romanian politician Liviu Dragnea and President of the Chamber of Deputies, said that “Soros finances evil and has never done anything good for this country.”
According to The New York Times, “Similar efforts [to curb Soros’ influence] have begun or accelerated in Serbia, Slovakia and Bulgaria.”
Soros activities have also faced significant criticism from conservatives in the U.S. In February, Republican lawmakers launched a probe into the possibility that government funds were being used to support Soros’ destabilizing political activities in Macedonia.
“This guy is a spider with lots of webs,” GOP strategist Brad Blakeman told Fox News’ “Strategy Room” at the time. “He controls numerous third-party groups, where he uses his influence. We’ve seen it internally with Black Lives Matter, the demonstrations taken place after the inaugural — this is what he does.”