(Removes extraneous word in headline)
BUDAPEST Jan 10 Any civil society group with
funding from billionaire George Soros should be "swept out" of
Hungary, a vice chairman of the ruling Fidesz party said on
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been criticised at
home and abroad for his crackdown on NGOs, which started in
2014, involved dozens of organisations, and lasted for more than
a year. They uncovered no wrongdoing.
Orban has said civil society groups receive foreign money to
"organise refugee streams and boost migration".
Fidesz vice chairman Szilard Nemeth told a news conference,
according to HirTV's website, that Soros was "pushing global big
capital and a related political correctness into Hungary" and
NGOs he funded were meddling in politics.
"These organisations must be pushed back with all available
tools, and I think they must be swept out, and now I believe the
international conditions are right for this with the election of
the new president (in the U.S.)," Nemeth said, according to a
video posted on HirTV's website.
No one at Soros Fund Management was immediately available
Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said in reply to Reuters
emailed questions that as a Fidesz lawmaker and vice chairman,
Nemeth represented its views and that the government's stance
had been set out in an interview with Orban on website 888.hu.
Orban told 888.hu in December that Soros would be "squeezed
out" of every European country and that NGOs would be
scrutinised to find out what interests they represented.
"The following year will be about the squeezing out of Soros
and the powers that symbolise him," Orban was quoted as saying.
According to a schedule of planned legislation on the
parliamentary website, lawmakers are set to vote on extending
mandatory declarations of assets to executives of NGOs.
"We don't know exactly what the government is planning
against civil organisations but we are not scared by the latest
comments," rights advocacy group TASZ, one of the NGOs which is
partly funded by Soros, posted on its Facebook page.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Louise Ireland)