Venice Commission on Hungarian law on foreign-funded NGOs: legitimate aims, but excessive obligations, disproportionate sanctions

Strasbourg 02/06/2017
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© Council of Europe

© Council of Europe

The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) has published today its preliminary opinion on the Draft Law on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Support from Abroad of Hungary.

The Venice Commission acknowledges that the draft law pursues the legitimate aim of ensuring transparency of civil society organisations and may also contribute to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Hungarian legislator has wisely avoided the highly stigmatizing term “foreign agent”. However, the neutral label “organisation receiving support from abroad” used in the draft, placed in the context of a virulent campaign carried out by some Hungarian authorities against foreign-funded NGOs, risks to adversely affect their legitimate activities and may raise a concern of discriminatory treatment.

The Venice Commission recommends to the Hungarian authorities that a public consultation involving all civil society organisations be conducted before the final adoption of the Draft Law.

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