REVIEW #8: “Stop Soros”: A Fake Governmental Legislation Proposal in the Hungarian Election Campaign

On February 20, 2018, the Hungarian parliament started its spring session with a debate on a “Stop Soros” package of three bills. It was the last session before the parliamentary elections due on April 8. The package focuses on:

  • organizations promoting migration,

  • taxation of activities “promoting migration,”

  • and restrictive regulations for organizations promoting migration as “counter-measures” to their activities.

The adoption of certain parts of the package would need qualified (two-third) majority. The governing alliance of Fidesz-KDNP (The Christian Democratic People’s Party) does not possess this majority at the present time in the parliament. Therefore, the proposals were tabled only for discussion and voting is not expected before the elections.

With respect to this delay, and considering several grave incoherencies and legal vagueness in the proposals, it is not unrealistic to assume that the proposals are primarily intended for campaigning purposes. But it is also alarming that the package clearly shows an authoritarian intention on behalf of Fidesz. Should the governing party alliance gain a two-third majority in the upcoming elections, it would be able to transform this campaigning material into a real law and real restrictions of the civil society as a whole.

In a broader context, it should be kept in mind that Human Rights Watch, in its World Report – 2018, described the rule of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as an “illiberal democracy.” Mr Orbán himself had used this expression earlier when referring to his own government.

Central Europe has become especially fertile ground for populists, as certain leaders use fear of migration elsewhere in Europe to undermine checks and balances on their power at home,” the report said, referring specifically to Hungary and Poland.1

The presented article is an attempt to demonstrate that legal flaws of the text make it practically impossible to incorporate the three bills of the package into the Hungarian legal system.

Official Reasoning

In the future it will be substantially more difficult to organize, support, and finance immigration in Hungary if parliament passes the “Stop Soros” legislative package, said Bence Tuzson, Hungarian Minister of State for government communications. According to the minister, the government had conducted a social debate on the legislative package, where more than 600 opinions and recommendations had been received. In light of these recommendations, the bills have been further tightened, he added.2

According to these bills, organizations, which intend to support migration and apply for a permit issued by the Ministry of Interior (on behalf of the Minister) to pursue such activities, must undergo a national security procedure. For that purpose, the Ministry must obtain the opinions of the national security services, the Constitution Protection Office, the Information Office, and the Military National Security Service. The Ministry’s decision can be appealed before a court of law, but only on the basis of procedural reasons.

The proposed legislation requires the applicant seeking to obtain a permit to also be screened, so as to determine whether it receives foreign funding for its activities. The National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary would carry out this screening.


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1 Roth, K. (2018) “The Pushback Against the Populist Challenge,” [in:] Human Rights Watch. Available [online]:

2 Rogán, K. (2018) “The Stop Soros Legislative Package Will Be Submitted in Stricter Form on Tuesday,” [in:] Website of the Hungarian Government: Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister. Available [online]: