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EU takes Hungary to court over NGO law, education reforms

Europe
07.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Brussels (dpa) - The European Commission is taking Hungary to court over a controversial law aimed at foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and university reforms seen to target US billionaire George Soros.

Hungary‘s conservative government, led by Viktor Orban, has clashed with the European Union in recent years on issues ranging from migration to the death penalty.

Thursday‘s announcement comes after Hungary failed to satisfy the EU executive‘s concerns on both issues. The European Court of Justice can impose hefty fines on countries in breach of EU law.

Under the NGO law, adopted in June, organizations receiving more than 24,000 euros (28,293 dollars) of foreign financing will have to register as "civic organizations funded from abroad."

Critics consider this an instrument to stifle dissent.

The law breaches EU rules on the free movement of capital, the right to freedom of association and the right to protection of private life and personal data, the commission said.

The education law changes requirements for foreign universities.

Critics say it targets the Central European University (CEU), founded by Soros. The law‘s passage through parliament sparked mass protests in Budapest.

The commission said the law, passed in April, "disproportionately restricts" university operations, while running counter to the right of academic freedom, the right to education and the right to conduct a business.

The commission also took Hungary to court - with Poland and the Czech Republic - for failing to comply with an EU-wide refugee relocation scheme. It gave Budapest two months to fall in line with EU asylum laws.

 

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