Proposed NGO law to further control civil society in Hungary


Hungarian civil society and international organisations expressed dismay over a draft law, expected to be submitted for review this week by the Hungarian parliament, aimed at controlling the activities of domestic and international NGOs in the country. The draft has not been made public but it reportedly aims to increase transparency in funding revenue and sources. However, if passed, it will require NGOs to provide even more documentation regarding the receipt of foreign funds. The added administrative burden could put greater pressure on NGO staff, time and resources as well as allow the government to regulate and exercise greater oversight of civil society actions. As Stefania Kapronczy, executive director of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Unionstated in regards to the anti-NGO laws:

"All of these proposals are wrapped in a rhetoric that reveals their real purpose, to stigmatise or even get rid of these organisations." 

Civil society in Hungary is vibrant and robust - with approximately 60,000 NGOs - but the sector has been under continuous attack with Viktor Orban as Prime Minister. On 27 February 2017, a spokesperson for the government, Zoltan Kovacs, labelled civil society as "foreign agents funded by foreign money."