Budapest on Friday accused Hungarian-born US Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros of seeking to spark unrest in the country by financing groups critical of the right-wing government’s hardline migrant stance.
“Soros is opposing the government… by supporting non-governmental groups which want to push back the Hungarian government’s position on the migration issue,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told national Kossuth radio.
But “the people don’t support the migrant policies of European governments, despite the financial support NGOs receive from George Soros who is trying to cause trouble,” he added.
Around 300,000 migrants and refugees transited through Hungary last year on their way to wealthy European Union countries like Germany before Orban sealed off the southern borders with barbed wire fencing in the autumn and introduced tough anti-immigration laws.
Since January, more than 13,400 have entered the country illegally despite the measures, according to official figures, as the bloc continues to grapple with its worst migration crisis since World War II.
Soros, who made a huge fortune from hedge funds before developing a philanthropic empire, last year called on the EU to “accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future.”
A Budapest-born Jew, Soros fled to England during WWII before moving to New York in the 1950s.
From there, he began financing NGOs around the world, including dissident groups in the Soviet bloc during the late 1980s, which included Orban.
Since then, however, the two men have fallen out over their political views, with Orban today a close ally and admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin.