Luxembourg (dpa) - The European Court of Justice decides in the dispute over foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Hungary. This concerns requirements for clubs and associations that have to disclose financial contributions from abroad (Case C-78/18).
The law was passed in 2017 by the government majority of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban. It stipulates that NGOs receiving donations from abroad must register with the Hungarian authorities above a certain threshold. The information is published online. In addition, the NGOs must state on their website and in other publications that they are an “organization supported from abroad”.
Critics say the law is tailored for US investor and major donor George Soros. Orban has been campaigning against the Holocaust survivor from Hungary for years. He also rushes with anti-Semitic stereotypes.
In order to fall under the NGO law, an organization must receive more than 7.2 million forints (about 20,500 euros) a year from abroad. In addition, when registering, they must state the number of donors whose support exceeds 500,000 forints (around 1,500 euros).
The EU Commission, which is responsible for compliance with EU law in the international community, initiated proceedings against Hungary over the law. When Budapest did not give in, the authority brought an action before the ECJ. Among other things, the law violates the principle of free movement of capital, the authority argued. It also violates the right to respect for private life and the protection of personal data. An ECJ expert supported the concerns of the EU Commission earlier this year.
The conflict over the NGO law is not the only dispute between Brussels and Budapest. The EU Commission has sued Hungary several times before the highest EU court in recent years. Hungarian asylum and migration policy was often the focus. Most recently, the ECJ found that the Hungarian transit camps for asylum seekers violated EU law.
A lawsuit regarding the so-called Stop Soros Act is still pending. Among other things, the Hungarian government is putting in place the possibility that assistance with asylum applications could be punished. Orban assumes that Soros will bring a large number of Muslim immigrants to Europe.