Hungary wants to levy penal tax on refugee NGOs

Viktor Orbán's national conservative government plans to levy a new tax on refugee organisations that are financed from abroad. Government representatives are calling the new bill a "stop-Soros package' in the light of the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros's support for many refugee NGOs in the country. The Hungarian media are not alone in their dismay at the plans.

Open/close all quotes
Der Standard (AT) /

New fuel for the media circus

The law against the NGOs is mainly an instrument in the election campaign, Der Standard maintains:

“The latest draft bill, which is supposed to restrict the activities of foreign-financed NGOs, supposedly targets organisations that support illegal migration. This is a reference to the refugee smuggler rings, for instance, which however we all know don't organise themselves into non-profits. But it seems that three months before the elections the government representatives are all keen to fish in muddy waters. They refer to the law simply as the 'stop-Soros-package', adding a new element to the months-long media circus.”

hvg (HU) /

Bringing out the worst in Hungarians

The Orbán government has brought about a disgraceful decline in Hungarian society's moral standards, author Gábor Nógrádi writes in the weekly hvg:

“It's worth reflecting on what would have happened if Hungary had taken in the roughly 1,200 refugees [assigned to it by the EU quota system]. What would have happened if the pro-government media and the countless posters hadn't spread fear, hate and panic in the country but had encouraged people to have an open and understanding stance towards the refugees? ... This is not the first time in Hungary's history that the country's leadership has taught innocent lambs to be wolves. We know how it ends: downfall, collapse, mental trauma. Think back to the times after the two world wars when Hungary had to wake up from a nightmare. ... It's time to put an end to the self-castigation.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Orbán government anything but Christian

Hungarian voters can change the current political mood in the country if they want to, Magyar Nemzet argues:

“Of all things, a government dedicated to defending Christian values is acting counter to the Christian ethos. Striking fear and panic into the people's hearts is neither Christian nor conservative. ... Many Hungarians are confused: what to do in such circumstances? Perhaps we should bear in mind the words of Pope John Paul II, who said in the mass for the inauguration of his pontificate almost 40 years ago: 'Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. Open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development.' Without fear we can achieve much. Even [in the parliamentary elections] in April and afterwards.”