EU top court to rule on Hungary limits on foreign-funded NGOs

Judges at the European Court of Justice will decide Thursday whether the Hungarian government is breaking EU law by restricting the financing of NGOs.

Back in 2017, at the height of Europe’s migration crisis, the government in Budapest adopted a law to freeze any funding to organisations of over 22,000 euros from outside Hungary, arguing that the money could be used for money laundering or the financing of terrorism.

The European Court of Justice’s advocate general released an opinion in the case back in January in which he said he believed the Hungarian government did breach EU law. Traditionally, ECJ judges follow those opinions.

The restrictions placed on NGO funding was seen as targeting billionaire philanthropist George Soros, and organisations like his Open Society Foundation that support Hungarian NGOs. The government claims these organisations work against the national interest.

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban has repeatedly accused donors like Soros, and court judgments by the ECJ, of meddling in the country’s political affairs.

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