Latvia has implemented stricter regulations aimed at ensuring the transparency of non-governmental organisations than Hungary has, the deputy state secretary in charge of NGOs said after talks with Latvian government officials in Riga on Tuesday.
Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky held talks with Martins Klive, director of the Latvian foreign ministry’s European Union coordination office, Janis Citskovskis, director of the Latvian prime minister’s office, and foreign ministry state secretary Andris Pelss.
Szalay-Bobrovniczky told MTI that he and Klive discussed laws concerning civil groups and the infringement procedure the European Commission has launched against Hungary over its own NGO transparency law.
Their talks also touched on the Sargentini report and the latest EU proposals to enhance the role of border agency Frontex in controlling the bloc’s external borders.
The deputy state secretary said he explained Hungary’s position that the Sargentini report “is actually part of a political campaign that was launched against Hungary because it rejects opening up its borders to illegal migrants”. He also underlined Hungary’s opposition to the proposal that Frontex should take over border control duties from EU member states. Budapest would consider this a violation of its sovereignty, he said.
Szalay-Bobrovniczky said his talks with Citskovskis confirmed his belief that Latvia’s NGO transparency law is stricter than Hungary’s.
He said his Latvian partners showed great interest in Hungary’s tax donation rules under which taxpayers are offered an opportunity to donate one percent of their income tax to NGOs and another percent to churches. Hungary, he said, “has no reason to be embarrassed about the amount of funding it provides to civil groups” relative to the rest of Europe.
The Hungarian government cooperates closely with NGOs and takes into consideration their proposals, he said.
With Pelss, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said he discussed, among other topics, Hungary’s relations with Ukraine. He said Budapest “rejects the tone that Kiev has been taking with it.” He asked Latvian officials to consider Hungary’s arguments in connection with its dispute with Ukraine.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/Vince Szalay-Bobrovinczky