Following proposals submitted yesterday by the Hungarian government to the Parliament designed to crack down on NGOs and criminalise their activities, S&D Group vice-president responsible for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Josef Weidenholzer said:

“These new laws would mean that those acting to uphold Hungary’s basic human rights obligations could be thrown in jail. This is not happening in a remote dictatorship but in a country in the heart of the European Union, with a government that is part of the supposedly pro-European EPP Group. Finally, Manfred Weber needs to act and throw Orbán and his Fidesz cronies out – until they do this, the EPP Group is complicit with the nasty and authoritarian slide that is taking place in Hungary.

“It is disgusting that the government threaten to use criminal sanction against those who help vulnerable people.  Locking up NGO staff for humanitarian work is cruel and anti-democratic. This package clearly follows the path of Vladimir Putin‘s anti-NGO laws, contradicts European values, and has no place in the European Union.

“It is sad that this package is the first legislative proposal of the re-elected Orbán government. Instead of this hateful

“Stop Soros” package, the government should focus on the Hungarian people’s real problems – a deteriorating education system and rampant corruption.”