Since the elections in 2010, the current governing party has systematically undermined the rule of law inHungary,
seriously disrupting the system of checks and balances. The adoption of the new constitution without the consent of the opposition and the widely criticized media regulation were followed by legislative steps weakeningindependent institutions (e.g. the Constitutional Court, the judiciary and the Ombudsman system) and violatinghuman rights (e.g. the right to fair trial) in mass numbers. These legislative steps were accompanied by the earlyremoval of leaders of independent institutions and the “court-packing” of the Constitutional Court. As shown bythe international criticism e.g. on behalf of the European Union and the Council of Europe, several rules adoptedby the governing majority were not in compliance with democratic values and international standards. The series ofgovernmental attacks against Hungarian NGOs, which organizations operate by their nature as checks and critics ofthe state power and fight for reinforcing the rule of law and ensuring the protection of human rights, is another step in the process aimed at establishing an “illiberal state”.
These attacks included condemning public statements by high-ranking state officials (including the Prime Minister)
alleging that some NGOs are closely linked to political parties and/or serve “foreign interests”; an illegitimate state
audit by the Government Control Office into the use of the EEA/Norway Grants NGO Fund; criminalprocedures launched against members of the consortium of NGOs distributing the EEA/Norway Grants NGOFund; a police raid of their offices (later found unlawful by the investigationjudge); and the suspension of their taxnumbers. Even though the official proceedings launched as part of the governmental attacks against the Hungarianconsortium of NGOs distributing the EEA/Norway Grants NGO Fund and organizations supported by the NGO Fundceased or were terminated (without any criminal charges brought) by the beginning of 2016, critical and threatening statements from the government and the governing parties against human rights and watchdog NGOs
continued, primarily targeting NGOs supported by the Open Society Foundations.
On 7 April 2017, a Bill on NGOs was submitted to the Parliament,prescribing, among others, organizations receiving foreign funds toregister themselves, and to label themselves as such on their website and in theirpublications.