Parliament passed the law on the transparency of organisations funded from abroad on Tuesday.

The Fidesz motion which was supported by the Government was passed with 130 government party votes, 44 votes against and 24 Jobbik abstentions.

Based on the legislation, the associations and foundations coming under the effect of the law are required to report to the court within 15 days if they become organisations funded from abroad as soon as the amount of grants received by them in any subject-year exceeds double the limit determined in the anti-money laundering legislation, that is, a sum of HUF 7.2 million. This sum, however, does not include any grants which they receive via fiscal agencies as funds originating from the European Union.

Based on the remarks of the Venice Commission, the legislation further lays down: the donor’s personal details need not be published if the grants provided by him or her do not reach HUF 500 thousand in a given year.

The registering court sends the names, head office details and tax numbers of the associations and foundations which it registered in the month before as qualifying as organisations funded from abroad to the Minister responsible for keeping the Civil Information Portal by the 15th of every month. The Minister makes the details so forwarded available free of charge on the electronic platform specifically created for the purpose.

The organisations concerned are required to state forthwith, following the filing of their reports with the court, on their websites as well as in any press products and other publications published by them as defined in the media legislation, that they qualify as organisations funded from abroad.

Any organisations which fail to meet their obligations under the law now passed will be called upon by the prosecutor to comply with the applicable regulations within 30 days. Should they continue to fail to comply, this is followed by another notice with a time limit of 15 days. If this notice likewise fails to deliver the desired result, the prosecutor initiates with the court the imposition of a fine on the non-governmental organisations concerned as set forth in the law on the court registration of non-governmental organisations.

It was also in response to the recommendation of the Venice Commission that the possibility of deletion has been left out of the possible sanctions. The law instead stipulates that the prosecutor is to proceed, following the repeated notice, in accordance with the rules of the law on non-governmental organisations, with regard to the principle of proportionality.

It will also be easier to be removed from the range of organisations funded from abroad than originally contemplated by those presenting the bill. Once again, based on the remarks of the Venice Commission, organisations may be removed from the relevant register if they fail to reach the statutory level of grants in two consecutive fiscal years, in contrast to the originally proposed three consecutive fiscal years. In this case, the Minister responsible for keeping the relevant records must forthwith delete the organisation concerned from the website featuring the records. The procedure of simplified deletion has also been removed from the legislation.

The effect of the law does not extend to associations and foundations not qualifying as non-governmental organisations, associations coming under the effect of the sports legislation, organisations engaged in religious activities and the organisations of nationalities.

The law will enter into force on the eighth day following its promulgation.

(MTI/kormany.hu)