June 8th, 2017

Gulyás: Fidesz backs most Venice Commission proposals on NGO bill

Lawmakers of Fidesz will support “the majority” of the recommendations the Venice Commission has made concerning the government-initiated bill on the transparency of foreign-funded NGOs, the party’s deputy group leader said. Referring to the commission’s evaluation of the bill, Gergely Gulyás said that “the body has acknowledged that ensuring access to information on foreign funding to non-governmental organisations is a legitimate objective”. Gulyás noted that positions by the Venice Commission have no binding effect. He added, however, that Fidesz “has so far considered and will again consider the majority of the body’s recommendations”. Referring to US billionaire George Soros, Gulyás insisted that the new law was necessary to ensure the transparency of Hungary’s “Soros-organisations” and to clarify allegations of some organisations being financed “from the east”.

In its preliminary opinion on the bill published last week, the Venice Commission said the bill pursued legitimate aims but imposed excessive obligations on NGOs and flagged disproportionate sanctions on NGOs that fail to disclose the source of funding they receive from abroad. It said that any sanctions imposed must be in line with the principle of proportionality and should only be imposed in the cases of the most serious breaches of obligations.

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