Why this story matters:
The transition to democracy happened almost three decades ago, however, many Hungarians have a feeling of déja vu: the government's tactics resemble the dark past when those considered enemies of the state were persecuted.
If the "Stop, Soros!" bill comes into effect, it will be a new blow to the already corroded democracy. The Fidesz-led conservative government will have the power to harass any individual or organization in the name of "the fight against illegal migration". This could lead to serious human rights violations.
It might also make scapegoating and hysteria more acceptable in the region. With populism on the rise on the continent, my fellow Europeans should watch closely how things unfold in Hungary.
As April 8 approaches, chances of witnessing a clean and honest election campaign are fading.
Details from the story:
- According to the draft bill "abetting illegal migration" should be registered in a special database.
- Individuals and organisations that break the rules could face heavy fines.
- Nepszava reached out to NGOs whose representatives unanimously said that if the bill comes into effect it could make their work impossible.
- The draft bill would make it possible to expel foreign (non-EU) nationals. Hungarian citizens could not be expelled but they could be banned from approaching the EU's external borders. The closest they could go is 8 km from any EU border.