Reacting to a report published today by Freedom House claiming that democracy is deteriorating in Hungary, governing party Fidesz said it was “not surprised” to see the U.S. NGO “attacking” Hungary as it is financed by George Soros. However, a Freedom House spokesman denied that Soros has provided significant funding in recent years.
“Freedom House is an institution funded by George Soros. The Government of Hungary is not surprised to see such an institution attacking Hungary. Press freedom is fully respected in Hungary; in the Hungarian press every shade of political opinion may appear. In addition, the citizens of Hungary exercise their democratic rights in free elections,” reads a statement by the Hungarian government appearing on official website kormany.hu.
Responding to the Hungarian government allegation that it is a Soros-funded institution, Freedom House Spokesman Robert Ruby told the Associated Press that the organization received no funds from any Soros-backed institution in 2016 and 2017, and that “the last such grant was received in 2015, for an amount that was less than 0.5% of the organizationʼs budget.”
The current Hungarian regime is ranked as only a “semi-consolidated democracy” in the Nations in Transit 2017 report by Freedom House, the U.S. government-funded NGO that conducts research on democracy, political freedom, and human rights. In the CEE region, Hungary’s democracy has deteriorated in the most spectacular way in the past ten years, the report says.
The governing Fidesz party has been an increasingly harsh critic of Hungarian-born philanthropist and financier Soros. The latest step in the apparently ongoing war between the government and Soros is todayʼs passing by Parliament of legislation that will apparently force the Central European University, which was founded and is still partly funded by Soros, to close its doors in Budapest.