CJEU Case C-78/18 | Commission v Hungary (Transparency of Associations)

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Information Guide concerning Case C-78/18 from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the restrictions imposed by Hungary on the financing of civil organisations from abroad.

Further information:

Hungary adopted a law in June 2017 aimed at ensuring transparency in civil organisations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding. Under such law, these organisations must register with the national authorities as 'organisations in receipt of support from abroad' where the amount of the donations they received in a given year reaches a certain threshold. When registering, the organisations are also required to name the donors whose support reaches or exceeds HUF500,000 (approximately € 1 500) and the exact amount of the support. That information is later published on a free, publicly accessible e-platform. In addition, the civil organisations concerned must indicate on their homepages and in their publications that they are an ‘organisation in receipt of support from abroad’.

In December 2017, the European Commission decided to refer Hungary to the CJEU for failure to fulfil obligations under EU law: infringement of the principle of free movement of capital, infringement of the right to respect for private life, to protection of personal data and to freedom of association.

On 14 January 2020, the CJEU's Advocate-General issued an Opinion which suggests that the Hungarian legislation at issue unduly restricts the free movement of capital, in that it includes provisions which amount to unjustified interference with the fundamental rights of respect for private life, protection of personal data and freedom of association protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The CJEU issued its judgment on 18 June 2020, which states that restrictions imposed by Hungary on the financing of civil organisations by persons established outside the Member State do not comply with EU law.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Verfassungsblog, 27/01/2020: The Hungarian “Lex NGO” before the CJEU: Calling an Abuse of State Power by its Name https://verfassungsblog.de/the-hungarian-lex-ngo-before-the-cjeu-calling-an-abuse-of-state-power-by-its-name/
European Law Blog, 06/02/2020: Untangling the inextricable – Advocate General Sánchez-Bordona’s proposal for a new standard of review of Charter infringements in Commission v Hungary (C-78/18) https://europeanlawblog.eu/2020/02/06/untangling-the-inextricable-advocate-general-sanchez-bordonas-proposal-for-a-new-standard-of-review-of-charter-infringements-in-commission-v-hungary-c-78-18/
International Federation for Human Rights: Press Release, 18/06/2020: EU Top Court Rules that Hungary’s Anti-NGO Law Unduly Restricts Fundamental Rights https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/hungary/eu-top-court-rules-that-hungary-s-anti-ngo-law-unduly-restricts
Open Society Foundations: Voices, 18/06/2020: European Union Court Rejects Hungarian NGO Funding Law https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/european-union-court-rejects-hungarian-ngo-funding-law
Amnesty International: News, 18/06/2020: Hungary: Landmark judgment rejects stigmatization of NGOs https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/06/hungary-landmark-judgment-rejects-stigmatization-of-ngos/

EurActiv, 14/01/2020: NGOs hail opinion urging EU court to annul Hungary’s restrictions on foreign financing https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/ngos-hail-opinion-urging-eu-court-to-annul-hungarys-restrictions-on-foreign-financing/
Reuters, 14/01/2020: Hungary's law on NGO foreign funding is unlawful: EU court adviser https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1ZD187
BBC News, 18/06/2020: Hungary 'broke EU law with foreign funding rules' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53093117
Euronews, 18/06/2020: Hungary breaking EU law over foreign-funded NGO crackdown, says ECJ https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/18/eu-top-court-to-rule-on-hungary-limits-on-foreign-funded-ngos
Bloomberg, 18/06/2020: Hungary Loses EU Clash Over Curbs on Soros-Linked Groups https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-18/hungary-loses-eu-fight-over-law-targeting-soros-linked-groups
Deutsche Welle, 18/06/2020: Hungary NGO law breaches basic rights, top EU court rules https://p.dw.com/p/3dxnI

CJEU CURIA: Case C-78/18 | Commission v Hungary http://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=C-78/18
CJEU: Press Release, 14/01/2020: Opinion of the Advocate General in the case C-78/18 Commission v Hungary (Transparence associative) https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_2754300/en/
CJEU: Press Release, 18/06/2020: Judgment in Case C-78/18 Commission v Hungary https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_3078308/en/
European Commission: Statement by Commissioner For Justice, Didier Reynders, on the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C 78/18 Commission v Hungary (18 June 2020) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/reynders/announcements/statement-commissioner-justice-didier-reynders-judgment-court-justice-european-union-case-c-7818_en
Hungary: Ministry of Justice: News, 19/06/2020: We are committed to transparency of non-governmental organisations https://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-justice/news/we-are-committed-to-transparency-of-non-governmental-organisations

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