The restrictions imposed by Hungary on the financing of civil organisations by persons established outside that Member State do not comply with EU law, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on Thursday.
The European Commission referred Hungary to the CJEU over the legislation, which requires NGOs to make full disclosure of foreign funding over 7.2 million forints (EUR 208,700), late in 2017.
According to the court, by imposing obligations of registration, declaration and publication on certain categories of civil society organisations directly or indirectly receiving support from abroad exceeding a certain threshold and providing for the possibility of applying penalties to organisations that do not comply with those obligations, Hungary had introduced discriminatory and unjustified restrictions with regard to both the organisations at issue and the persons granting them such support.
Hungary’s government respects the ruling but is committed to “ensuring the transparency of NGOs” Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said at his weekly press briefing on Thursday. He said the government still needs to examine the ruling in detail but said that it was heartening that the court agreed with the government’s goal of increasing transparency at NGOs so only the tools with which to achieve this need to be changed.