Several non-governmental organisations spoke out against the government’s bill on the transparency of civil groups funded by foreign donors on Thursday, arguing that it was designed to stigmatise them. Representatives of Amnesty International Hungary, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Transparency International Hungary, the Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) and Háttér said that the bill was unconstitutional and should be withdrawn. The civil groups spoke to the press after attending the meeting of a special working group set up by the government, where they had discussed the NGO transparency bill with government representatives.
Justice ministry state secretary Pál Völner claimed after the talks that it was “mainly the organisations supported by George Soros” that felt the transparency law would stigmatise them. He said he had failed to reach an agreement with “the organisations critical of the government” at the meeting. Völner said details as to exactly which organisations the law should apply to could be subject to further debate. He added that the primary purpose of the bill was to increase the transparency of organisations involved in politics that receive funding from abroad “and on certain issues, represent a position other than the domestic consensus … “