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Jun 14, 2017

Hungary's Parliament passes new law on transparency of NGOs funded from abroad

Under the new law organizations are required to state that they qualify as organizations funded from abroad on their official website and publications

Hungary's Parliament has passed a new law on the transparency of NGOs funded from abroad.

The government-supported motion was passed with 130 government party votes, 44 votes against and 24 Jobbik abstentions.

The Ministry of Justice had requested the Council of Europe's Venice Commission to issue a professional legal opinion on the draft legislation before it went before Parliament for a vote. The Venice Commission said that the law "pursues the legitimate aim of ensuring transparency of civil society organisation". It also said that "ensuring transparency of NGOs receiving funding from abroad in order to prevent them from being misused for foreign political goals...pursues a prima facie legitimate aim and can be considered to be necessary in a democratic society." Several of the Commission's recommendations were incorporated into the draft law before today's vote.

The legislation states that organizations that fall under the new law are required to report to the court within 15 days if they become funded from abroad.

The registering court sends the names, head office details and tax numbers of the associations and foundations to the minister responsible for overseeing the Civil Information Portal.

Under the new law organizations are required to state that they qualify as organizations funded from abroad on their official website and publications.

Any organizations which fail to meet their obligations will be called upon by the prosecutor to comply with the applicable regulations within 30 days and may be subject to a fine.