Another leaked excerpt: NGOs have nothing to fear and charges of authoritarianism are false

Daily Magyar Nemzet published new excerpts from leaked interviews with leadership at the Civil Liberties Union and American Enterprise Institute in which they acknowledge that claims of dictatorship are exaggerated and that NGOs in Hungary have nothing to fear.

We have yet another excerpt from the leaked interviews with members of the left-liberal thought police in Hungary. Márton Asbóth, project manager at the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, said that it is perfectly safe for NGOs to operate in Hungary. According to him, this is why TASZ has not even worked out the details of Plan B, that is, what they would do in the imaginary scenario in which the government wanted to close down such organizations.

In the interview, Asbóth confirmed that NGOs like his have nothing to fear in Hungary.

“Actually, there were no themes like, you know, police officers coming to NGOs’ offices or freezing their bank accounts. These very Russian situations never happened before in Hungary. And I trust it wouldn't,” Asbóth said. He added that although, in his view, there was a piece of legislation in Hungary that was designed to cut foreign funding of NGOs, the government does not really push this issue, and the legislation was “demolished by the European Court.”

Just yesterday, in a previous excerpt leaked to Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, Márton Asbóth said that the international press is painting a false picture of our country. Asbóth pointed out that although the foreign press reports that authoritarian regimes are in power in Hungary and Poland, he believes that both countries are very good places to live.

Meanwhile, Kristóf Zoltán Varga, who used to work as the Budapest director of the Open Society Foundations, also known as the Soros Foundation, argued that NGOs can operate safely in Hungary and assured his interlocutor that money from abroad can also reach these organizations.

“We are a member of the EU, so it would be difficult for the government to stop funding [from abroad]. Because it comes from abroad, they cannot stop the money coming through certain channels, they can only stop the channels themselves," Varga said.

According to Dalibor Rohac, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Hungary is a completely safe haven for foreign investors. According to him, the media attention focused on Hungary in the international press does not mean that business people should worry about the security of private property, corruption or the legal environment.

“Hungary is a member of both the EU and NATO and depends heavily on foreign investment. If we look at the influx of big companies, we see that the biggest companies, like Audi, Mercedes and others, employ tens of thousands of people. So it is not at all like in Russia. Here, people are not put in jail, big companies are not appropriated by the government. I think foreign investors have nothing really to fear,” said the senior AEI official.

Rohac concluded that Hungary started from a much better position than Bulgaria or Romania, and that by Central and Eastern European standards, Hungary is a civilized place where you can trust the courts to enforce contracts.