BUDAPEST, Hungary, May 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — After reportedly promising to comply with Eurocrats ordering him to soften Hungary’s new laws against foreign NGOs and universities, Prime Minister Viktor Orban was back home telling a national TV audience he was not backing down.
Orban is in hot water with the European Union and the U.S. State Department over Hungary’s new laws or proposals restricting both foreign-based universities and political action groups.
While there are 25 such schools whose degrees are issued in their home countries as well as in Hungary, critics say the new law is an attack on one of them, the Central European University, a graduate school founded and funded by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.
Once an ally, Soros is now a bête noir for Orban, who calls him a “large-bodied predator … swimming in Hungarian waters.” The prime minister also charges that the left-wing Soros is a backer of 60-plus groups in Hungary. Across Europe and America, Soros funds atheistic, feminist, and pro-abortion groups.
“Let’s not mince words. George Soros finances these organizations,” Orban said in March.
The Hungarian government went into detail with Politico, describing the NGOs as “self-styled human rights organizations which engage in political activity but which have no political legitimacy, and whose activities are in sharp opposition to the views of the majority of Hungarians.”
The law requires them to announce their nationality every time they make a public statement and on every pamphlet and poster. Colleges such as CEU, which has no campus outside Hungary, will no longer be allowed to issue U.S. degrees. Professors will have to apply for work permits. School officials claim the changes will shut it down.
Though defiant in a speech to the European Parliament just over a week ago, Orban reportedly backed down in a private meeting with European People’s Party leaders.
“The measures in Budapest are not acceptable. Academic freedom must be guaranteed,” EEP leader Manfred Weber told reporters after the meeting, claiming Orban had agreed to modify the measures.
But Reuters reported that Orban told Hungarians once he got home that, though he would indeed “negotiate,” and “implement the final result … nobody will set conditions for Hungary.”
Western media such as Politico see Orban’s move as an attack on “European values” and describe CEU as “one of the world’s leading centers for social science.”
Politico declared, “What’s clear is that the EU cannot afford to be silent any longer if it wants to be a credible defender of democracy and human rights. Orbán has bowed to pressure in the past. If EU leaders take a hard stand for academic freedom and European values, he will do so again.”
But European conservatives view Hungary’s legislation as a robust demonstration of national sovereignty. Agenda Europe stated, “There can be absolutely no doubt the Hungarian government is fully within its rights to regulate (universities). Every claim to the contrary is just outright ridiculous.”
Agenda Europe says the European Union is bullying Hungary by interfering in internal affairs. Noting that Orban is already campaigning on the platform “Stop Brussels,” Agenda Europe says “Brussels” is providing plenty of ammunition.
According to a January 16 story by LifeSiteNews, “Soros has been involved in the ‘orchestrated refugee crisis,’ revolutions around the world, the war on police, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, globalism, and more. He uses a well-developed network of NGOs to advance his agenda all over the world.
“The Soros Open Society Foundations (OSF) fund more than 60 Hungarian NGOs and have spent more than $1.6 billion in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in the past 30 years.”
In 2016, LifeSiteNews reported that leaked documents from Soros-funded NGOs revealed a three-year plan to eliminate pro-life laws around the world.