SOROS FOUN­DA­TION TO LEAVE BU­DA­PEST OVER ‘RE­PRES­SIVE’ GOVERN­MENT

Ottawa Citizen - - WORLD -

BU­DA­PEST The foun­da­tion of bil­lion­aire phi­lan­thropist Ge­orge Soros said Tues­day that it is re­lo­cat­ing its head­quar­ters to Ber­lin from Bu­da­pest in the wake of what it called an “in­creas­ingly re­pres­sive” en­vi­ron­ment in Hun­gary.

The Open So­ci­ety Foun­da­tions, or OSF, said the move is be­cause of the govern­ment’s plan to “im­pose fur­ther re­stric­tions on non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions through what it has branded its ’Stop Soros’ pack­age of leg­is­la­tion.”

Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban has ac­cused the 87-year-old Soros of be­ing part of a strat­egy to flood Europe with mi­grants and of med­dling in do­mes­tic af­fairs — some­thing Soros and his or­ga­ni­za­tion say isn’t true.

Or­ban was re-elected last month to a third con­sec­u­tive term dur­ing a cam­paign based heav­ily on de­mo­niz­ing mi­grants and blam­ing Soros and or­ga­ni­za­tions sup­ported by his Open So­ci­ety Foun­da­tions. Or­ban now plans a pack­age of laws dubbed “Stop Soros” that would greatly re­strict non-gov­ern­men­tal groups work­ing with refugees and asy­lum-seek­ers.

Pa­trick Gas­pard, the OSF’s pres­i­dent, said the govern­ment has “den­i­grated and mis­rep­re­sented our work and re­pressed civil so­ci­ety for the sake of po­lit­i­cal gain, us­ing tac­tics un­prece­dented in the his­tory of the Eu­ro­pean Union.”

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