In Hungary, civil organisations “operate freely” and “are thriving”, a ruling Fidesz lawmaker said after a meeting of the justice committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Monday.
But every single civil organisation must stick to the law, and that applies to NGOs that support illegal migration, Barna Pál Zsigmond told MTI by phone from Paris.
Overall, 60,000 civil organisations operate in Hungary, he noted, adding that around a dozen are “regularly in the government’s crosshairs”.
The Fidesz MP said he had made it clear to the CoE committee that the government cannot tolerate the activities of NGOs that aid illegal migration and break Hungarian laws. The Hungarian people have made it clear that they “want nothing to do with illegal migration”, he added.
The debate in PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights is a part of the upcoming European parliamentary election, Zsigmond said.
Referring to financier George Soros, he said it was “strange” that a “pro-Soros Ukrainian rapporteur” had proposed putting the situation of NGOs in Hungary, and the country’s “stop Soros” package of laws against supporting illegal migration, on the agenda. It was unsurprising, he added, that the rapporteur had also singled out Hungary for a country visit.
Italian representatives, among others, have clearly opposed attempts to frame Hungary’s anti-migration policies as an attack on civil organisations, Zsigmond said. This shows that other countries also recognise this problem, he added.
on the featured photo illustration: civil organizations demonstrating against a new restricting law in 2017. Photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI