George Soros’s Open Society Foundation is planning to assist civil groups in the provinces with “several hundred thousand” US dollars as part of the billionaire’s new strategy to “counter attacks by the Hungarian government”, portal abcug.hu reported on Thursday.
The portal said the campaign aimed to “present Soros as a philantropist, get closer to the people and gain popularity”.
Csaba Csontos, recently appointed spokesman for the foundation, told the portal that the foundation was planning to open new offices in Pécs, in southern Hungary, and in Debrecen in the east.
Csontos said that the funds would be dedicated to financing housing, education, health and poverty-related projects through two local organisations in the two cities.
“This is not only about contributing money but about building communities; the two new offices will function as community centres where local activists can promote initiatives in the area,” he said.
He added that the aim was to support small projects with no more than 12,000 dollars each.
Speaking about problems in Hungary’s provinces, Csontos said that apart from poverty the largest issue was the disintegration of local communities, about which now “there is no dialogue or confidence”. “We want to see local communities managing issues; if somebody is in need of wood … people living in the neighbourhood should cooperate and help needy seniors,” he said.
Abcug.hu noted that the Open Society has so far been known in Hungary for their support to civil groups providing legal advice and said that “the government has attacked them from that side, too.”
As we wrote last week, the government knows exactly what US financier George Soros wants, and rejects his efforts to bring illegal migrants to Europe. For this reason, the government “is standing in his way”, the foreign minister told daily Magyar Hírlap in an interview.
Photo taken by Jeff Ooi