Hungary: George Soros' Open Society Foundations to move from Hungary to Germany

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The step raises the stakes in Prime Minister Viktor Orban's standoff with the European Union as he seeks to complete a break with liberal democracy after winning a third consecutive term in elections last month. "It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference".

"Orban now wants to enact laws that force non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to register with the government".

Since opening his first foundation in Hungary in 1984, the Budapest-born Mr Soros has spent hundreds of millions of euro in the country on everything from photocopiers for independent media, to milk for schoolchildren and a clean-up operation after a 2010 toxic sludge disaster.

Open Society Foundations is closing its operations in Hungary and moving staff to Berlin, citing an increasingly repressive political and legal environment and security concerns.

Orban has accused Soros of being a part of a technique to flood Europe with migrants and of meddling in home affairs.

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"The Foundations will pursue all available legal avenues to defend the fundamental rights that are threatened by the legislation", OSF said in the statement, vowing to continue the organisation's work in Hungary through funding from the German capital.

The new legislation restricts the work of NGOs that receive foreign funding, imposing a punitive 25% overhead tax on donations. Around 60 percent are Hungarian nationals, including several who have worked for the Open Society Foundations for more than a decade.

The representative of the Hungarian government, zoltán kovács, declined to comment.

Hungary and Poland hold similar positions on the European Union's new budget and oppose cutting funds for the common agricultural policy, the two prime ministers said on Monday.

"We call on the government to sign the agreement without further delay".

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