Soros's Open Society Foundations leave Budapest

The Open Society Foundations of Hungarian-born US billionaire George Soros has announced that it is moving from Budapest to Berlin. It said the decision was the result of the Orbán government's massive pressure on the organisation. This is bad news for pro-Europeans and pro-democracy activists both in Hungary and the EU, commentators find.

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Polityka (PL) /

The foundation must return to Hungary

The field must not be abandoned to anti-European, nationalist forces, author Adam Szostkiewicz urges in Polityka:

“The decision to move the Open Society Foundations from Budapest to Berlin is yet another piece of worrying news for pro-European and pro-democratic forces in Hungary, Poland and the EU. These also include the European Commission, which is currently at loggerheads with Viktor Orbán over compliance with the rule of law. The right-wing, anti-European, nationalist forces will be happy. But their political and ideological opponents should prepare to take action so that the Open Society Foundations can return to Hungary.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

EU may no longer look on idly

The EU must finally find an efficient instrument for dealing with anti-democratic developments in its member states, the Süddeutsche Zeitung demands:

“The withdrawal of the Open Society Foundations is an alarm signal for Hungary's democracy - and above all a call for help that should be heeded. This call is directed at the European Union. ... Neither the infringement procedure already launched by the European Commission nor the complaint filed before the European Court of Justice appear to have made any impression on the government in Budapest. Brussels comes across as powerless, and this has consequences. This confrontation is no longer about an individual foundation or about Hungary alone. The EU as a community of shared values is being challenged. It urgently needs to find an answer to the question of how it intends to deal with the undermining of democracy in individual member states.”