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President Áder signs NGO law into effect

Despite widespread criticism, Hungary’s President János Áder signed the NGO law approved by the Hungarian Parliament’s Fidesz-KDNP majority into effect today, saying he sees no constitutional concerns about it, according to online news portal index.hu. 

Áder argues that the law does not affect the activities of civil organizations, it only raises a documentation commitment. “I do not see any public or constitutional concerns that would prevent the law from being put into effect,” the president said.

Áder acknowledged that social debate preceded the passage of the law, which saw the emergence of opinions that excluded facts, according to the president, that has hindered seeing clearly about the law.

The president says that NGOS are essential and respectable players of a civil society, and notes that more than 56,000 civil organizations are active in the country, 99% of which are not affected by the law.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said this morning he does not “understand” the United States’ concerns of the recently adopted law on NGOs, as he claimed the States has “much stricter” legislation.

The U.S. Embassy in Hungary said in a statement earlier this week the United States is “troubled” by the law, as it “unfairly burdens a targeted group of Hungarian civil society organizations, many of which focus on fighting corruption and protecting human rights and civil liberties.”

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) said in a press statement issued directly after the law was passed that the legislation goes against the Fundamental Law (the constitution) of Hungary. TASZ said it believes the best and most efficient action against the “unlawful” legislation is to apply civil disobedience, which means it will not act according to the amended law.