According to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian people have a legitimate need to know the identities of the foreign financers of non-governmental organisations.

At a press conference on Wednesday held on another topic, Mr. Szijjártó reacted to the fact that the spokesperson of Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: the German Government is viewing the Hungarian law on civil organisations funded from abroad “with great concern”.

Martin Schäfer said in a statement: By introducing legislation without consulting those affected, Hungary has joined states like Russia, China or Israel, for whom the financing of the work of non-governmental organisations by foreign sponsors is a “hostile, or at least unfriendly procedure”.

With relation to the statement, the Hungarian Foreign Minister explained: “One would expect a social democratic-led German Foreign Ministry” to base their criticism of other countries on well-founded information, and not on unfounded accusations. “What is the German government afraid of”, what could transpire regarding the financing of civil organisations?, he asked.

“It is a legitimate demand on the part of the Hungarian people to know who finances civil organisations from abroad, and if they have nothing to be ashamed of then it is difficult to understand exactly why they are unwilling to reveal the identity of their foreign financers”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted.

Civil organisations have “never been elected to do anything”, and accordingly the image that they are representing society in face of the government is a false one, the Minister said.

“Non-governmental organisations are important, and it is important that they voice their opinions on certain issues, but in view of the fact that they are endeavouring to influence public opinion by doing so they must make clear the identity of their foreign financers”, he explained.

It is strange that the German Government is criticising a law that is aimed at creating transparency, Mr. Szijjártó stressed. “We will naturally continue to refrain from criticising the legislation of other EU countries in future”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said.